“I’m not like other girls….”
We usually hear this when a woman is trying to distance herself from certain stereotypes that are placed on the female sex. She wants to stand-out and set herself a part from the pack, normally to impress a guy. So, she takes all the bad, devalued ideas of girlhood or femininity and packages it up as the uniform image of “a girl” and spits out a response that’s a slap in the face to all women.
In order to be successful in a workforce that very much still belongs to men, our success is mainly dependent on our ability to distance ourself from our sex, thus making other women our main source of competition. What we hear versus what we are told is: “Women are weak(er than men). Women are (more) timid (than men). Women are (more) fragile (than men).” So, to exist in this man’s world we celebrate the traits that make us more masculine and shy away from celebrating the things that make us feminine or “girly.”
Society wants to pin us against each other and watch us tear each other down, because if we’re so busy throwing shade at each other then we don’t notice when they do things like make it harder for women to have access to healthcare, push unrealistic body standards on us and make our parts “trends“, or perpetuate rape-culture by seeing us as only sexual beings who can’t be sexual in nature. So, they try to say that all women and all femininity is the same. “You’re not like other girls” out of the mouths of men becomes a compliment and “I’m not like other girls” out of the mouth of a woman becomes a way to set her apart and make her more special. Really, we cant blame girls who describe themselves like this at all though. You cant blame someone for believing something that was created as a way to divide us from birth as a result of our sexist society. But guess what though?
You’re actually just like “other girls”- and that’s not a bad thing.
We just cant seem to shake the idea that celebrating femininity in women (or men) is taboo. If you’re not societies unattainable idea of female beauty and form, the only way you can be worthy and to validate yourself is to argue that your different than other girls. We’re the girls that like to do things like watch sports and play video games, we’re the girls who like to drink our weight in beer, we’re the girls who are good shots and love to get dirty, we’re the girls who would rather wear sweats and slides over heels and make-up. We’re cool girls. We’re better girls, but the thing is, we’re not. If our self-worth and uniqueness depends on tearing down hating the rest of our gender, how much better can we be?
If we’re being truthful, we should want to be like all women. Women are strong- we have to be to survive in a society that constantly wants to see us fail. Women are inclusive- we have to be when sexism constantly tells us we don’t belong. Women are warmth- we have to be in a world that so lacks it. Women are so much more than pretty faces with make-up and an affinity for the color pink. Instead of saying, “I’m not lie other girls,” say, “I am just like other girls because I am strong, I am independent, and I am ambitious. I may fit some “girly” stereotypes, but just because I don’t binge watch “The Bachelor” or wear dresses everyday doesn’t mean the women who are any less unique or valid. I celebrate all women.”
A woman shouldn’t have to embody masculine traits to be seen as respectable or successful. There is power in femininity, and it’s a power we are denying ourselves. It’s time we take “girliness” back and recognized it for what it is- an asset. The next time a man tells you, “You’re not like other women,” please tell him that his insult to women, your sisters is not appreciated. The next time you hear a woman say, “I’m not like other girls,” please ask her what she thinks all girls are like, and why she thinks that. Let’s teach the little girls that look up to us that other women are our friends, not our competition. After all, we’re all “just like other girls.”