“You’re not like other girls,” a man says to a woman. “You’re different.”
She’s supposed to be thrilled that this guy sees her inner uniqueness and beauty. She’s supposed to blush and say thank you. But wait. What’s wrong with other girls? What’s wrong with being a woman?
We all want to feel special. It feeds into that adolescent insecurity that we are ordinary and boring and will never stand out to our seventh grade crush in the hallway. That is why this trope is such a staple of novels marketed at teenage girls. A perfect, handsome and often supernatural guy comes along and sweeps the damsel off her feet, seeing a special light in her that her uncivilized peers have missed. She’s “not like those other girls.”
But what does that even mean? It implies half the world’s population is all the same. It says that feminine things are ultimately inferior to things that are masculine.
It also says women are one-dimensional. They only like specifically feminine things. They can’t like both shopping at the mall and playing sports. Girls can’t watch chick flicks and also care about politics. The “other girls” are usually stereotypes, obsessed with “girly things.” They are thought of as shallow and dumb because of these feminine interests.
When you say “you’re not like other girls” or “I’m not like other girls,” it shows that you don’t like most girls automatically. It tells us you think being a girl is a bad thing. It says you don’t see them as multidimensional people.
It also puts women into a competition with each other that they didn’t ask for. Society doesn’t constantly compare males to each other this way. Apparently, a woman can’t be praised without putting her whole gender down in the same sentence.
Women don’t need to be complimented like this. It’s an insult at the same time. It’s saying a part of her, her gender, is inferior. It’s insulting her mother, her sisters and all women as it “compliments” her.
Women are varied and unique people. We can get excited about New York Fashion week and beat you on the soccer field. We can flawlessly contour our faces, get a hundred Instagram likes, and still get that job at big companies. There’s no point in tearing down our whole gender trying to impress one person.
As young girls, we separate ourselves from our womanhood. We want to prove that we can be worthy. We think I am not like other girls because I have a brain. I’m not one-dimensional. I have interests and hobbies. We don’t understand that women don’t have to choose between being a girl and being able to contribute to society. When we say “I’m not like other girls,” we are screaming to the world, “I am a person with ideas and thoughts and morals and I just want to be heard.” We don’t realize that being a girl does not equate to being dismissible or insignificant. We don’t realize we can have value and be female.
The only thing that can actually differentiate you from being in the normal crowd and help in in standing out, is being yourself and speaking your mind. You don’t need to change to yourself because this mindset is so common among women that if you follow it as well, you will practically “be like the other girls” in fact.