One phrase I despise is, “I’m not like other girls.”
Why do girls feel the need to say this? Probably because the general stereotype surrounding teenage girls is that we are all seen as being weak, stupid, insecure, vulnerable, desperate, amongst various other things. No wonder girls are trying to dis-associate themselves from our stereotypical view. But really, by saying that you’re “not like other girls,” you’re just insulting whoever it is you consider to be “like other girls,”
Why must a girl assert the ‘idea’ that she is completely exempt from the rest of the female population in order to be found attractive? Why do we find that being told we’re like “one of the boys” means that our personality has been accepted by the males? There is nothing wrong with having similar traits to a lot of other girls, or looking similar to other girls, or dressing like other girls, or even acting like other girls. Most of the time, girls are in tight-knit friendship groups which means that they adopt idiosyncrasies from their friends. This doesn’t mean that all these girls are the same, merely very close to each other and so mimic (mostly unconsciously) each other’s behaviour. And you know what? Other girls are great. I would be proud and honored to be similar to some of my friends, as they all have great and desirable traits. That is exactly why I am friends with them, and surround myself with their personalities.
If someone told me I was not like other girls, I would not swoon and sigh. Of course I do not want to be the same as everyone else, I want to be different and interesting, but I do not only want to be appealing to you because I do not share the stereotypical traits of the ‘typical girl.’ I do not want to be “one of the boys,” nor do I need your validation in order to feel good about myself.
However, one thing that I am guilty of doing, but have never understood why girls actually do it, is judging a girl that I don’t even know based on her appearance or posts on social media. Why are girls taught that other girls must not be their friends first, but their competition? Why must we compete with our friends for the attentions of boys and other girls? Why are strong friendships between girls so often dissolved by the introduction of a potential partner in one of the girls lives?
I do not advocate girl on girl hate. Girl on girl hate can be anything from slut-shaming, to toxic friendships between two girls. Constant undermining, rivalries in academic achievements and amorous achievements, catty fights over who-bought-what-item first and who talked to who’s ex-boyfriend after they’d broken up, are just a few of the examples of girl on girl hate that I’ve experienced, either first or second hand. The fierce competition between girls today is almost scary. How can we hate each other before we’ve even met?
My first and only question is why?
I believe that girls are conditioned from a young age to aspire to finding the perfect partner. Throughout history, a woman’s main ambition was to find a ‘suitable’ man to marry, and although we have progressed so much throughout the centuries, this idea is still perpetuated throughout many cultures in our modern society. Girls are being consciously (and subconsciously) taught that they must be the first to find a suitable mate, and that if they don’t find him before their friends, then they have somehow failed their purpose as a woman. These days, there are of course exceptions to this rule, such as women who never chose to marry, LGBT women, asexual women, etc. But I still believe that regardless of sexual orientation, girls are taught that they must be better than their friends in order to be successful. I believe that they are taught by media that they must be the Queen B, the centre of their universe of friends and others, the best at everything, in order to be desired and admired by others. This has to stop.
Girls, you do not have to compete. You do not have conform to society. You never have. If society can’t take it, then do it all the more, because then maybe one day, finally, society will give up trying to suppress the aspects of humans that they don’t like, and we will finally be happy to be exactly who we are.