The Problem With Saying You’re “Not Like Other Girls”

The Problem With Saying You’re “Not Like Other Girls”

It tells the receiver her gender is bad, but since she is different from the rest, she is good.

Image for postPhoto by Atikh Bana on Unsplash

A conversation has been initiated since people reflected on how feminine attributes are seen inherently bad in our society, starting with our childhoods when using ?like a girl? was seen as an insult.

However, ?like a girl? has a less-talked-about cousin ? the phrase ?I?m not like other girls.?

People have been selling the phrase as a compliment, either to oneself or to someone else. Talking from experience, boys have tried to compliment me stating, ?You?re cool. You?re not like other girls!? Later on, I adopted this as part of my identity without realizing what it really meant. As a teenager, all I knew was that it made me feel like I stood out.

If girls were into One Direction, dresses, and high heels, I was into books, jeans, and sneakers.

The use of the word ?girls? could infer the exclusive use of it by children. We could think that only kids use it since they?re too naive to understand. Unfortunately, I?ve encountered adults who don?t know better than 5-year-olds.

There are numerous reasons why the phrase is problematic. Compliments usually make us feel a bit better ? they make the recipient feel noticed and special. Nonetheless, this one is a double-edged sword.

Beginning with the fact that this ?compliment? relies on diminishing the rest of the female population.

It tells the receiver her gender is bad, but since she is different from the rest, she is good.

As mentioned before, I adopted the phrase into my personality. Yet, not surprisingly, so have thousands of other women, creating a cultural phenomenon. In the search for individuality, we ended up being just like everybody else. Memes and subreddits were created about it, making fun of this group, because even if one wanted to look different by dyeing their hair blue, every girl trying to stand out did it too.

Analyzing the endless memes made about it, ?girls? who believe they?re not like the others make fun of things that are seen as feminine and pride themselves in liking comics, junk food, video games, or other ?boyish? interests.

They refuse to like skirts, pink, taking care of their nails or hair, etc. Notwithstanding, when one stops to carefully think about it, they are part of a gender stereotype, which can be ridiculously contrasted: if a boy likes blue, rock, and hoodies, a girl is supposed to like pink, boy bands, and fashion.

Women belonging to this new group were poking fun of their own gender for being feminine ? they were better because they behaved as the stereotype of a man, and (let?s face it) society deems femininity as ?bad.?

Of course, this was unbeknownst to them, they were perpetrating their internalized hate towards women and all femininity, the misogyny they didn?t know they had.

Going back to my experience, my interests and likes started getting problematic.

Even if I liked pink, I didn?t want to show it in fear of seeming girly and weak. If I dyed my hair blue I would be deemed part of the ?different girls.?

I was a part of a crowd, and the desire to set myself aside was what got me into this mess in the first place.

It was until I was keen on feminism that I took the time to dissect things like gender.

I then understood that the things each gender is supposed to like are imposed by our society. Once I grasped this concept, it was as if I had unlocked millions of new minds I could empathize with. I had the right to choose what I liked apart from what I was supposed to, and so did millions of people.

Finally, women weren?t a group that only liked pink dresses ? they were millions of real people, with interests too complex to put in a box. I was only trying to go against a non-existing current, even if I had to build a fake personality for it. We pursue individuality, and a chance to shine as an individual, so bad, that we forget to enjoy the things that do make us happy.

Who cares if it?s popular? Who cares if it?s underground? Who cares if it?s what people don?t expect of you? Or if it?s what is expected?

Once one can understand that people are going to criticize every possible aspect of foreign life, one can let go of the necessity to please everyone. Feel free to like whatever you want, the only person that you need to make happy is yourself.

That?s when you can finally shine as an individual, and that brightness only attracts people as bright as you.

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