The hidden misogyny behind “not like other girls”


What does it mean to not want to be like “other girls”? Photo courtesy of Pexels.

MJ Rivera, Staff Reporter

Most women have had a time in their life when they thought to themselves, “I’m not like other girls,” because they chose an alternative, better way of living that doesn’t involve so much pink lip gloss. If this is you, you might not realize that you’re lifting yourself up by putting other women down. We all have individuality in common.

In his book “How to Interpret Literature,” Robert Parker said: “there are many different ways to enact gender, many different ways to live as a female or a male, not one essentialist way. Feminists see this sense of multiplicity as liberating. It means that it is best for women to choose how to live as women.”

In this way, Parker explained that gender can be seen as a performance. With billions of women in the world, there are just as many renditions of femininity. He said this idea might suggest that anyone can choose whatever performance they want, but that we inherit models of gender and femininity from our surrounding culture.

Parker also said that while repetition solidifies the essentialized idea of gender, each repetition varies slightly from the last. Humans naturally tend to do things differently with the progression of time. 

According to Elle magazine, “closer to where we are now, we’ve got multiple iterations of women who aren’t like other girls.” 

For example, in 2023 we have gamer girls, sporty girls, tik-tok girls, metalhead girls, artsy girls and so many more. So, who are these ‘others’ that none of us want to relate to? Girls who we call “basic” for sharing the interests and hobbies that men deem as common and frivolous.

Elle magazine wrote, “if ‘you’re not like other girls’ is a compliment, what does it say about ‘other girls?’”

Any phrase that suggests there’s a ‘basic’ version of women, and that rejecting that inherent standard will make you more interesting, is misogynistic in nature. I believe that all girls are more than just their style and preferences. 

I’m drinking a chai tea latte and watching “You” on Netflix, but I also play the drums and go golfing often. Any girl that you see doing ‘girly’ things has more on her mind than shoes, I promise. If all girls are dynamic, unique, unexpectable beings, there are no ‘others’ to be afraid of or defy. We are all girls and we all deserve to be known.

Some women wear feminine as basketball shorts and tank tops, but they might have a lot in common with the girls who wear feminine from Hot Topic. Then there are the “other girls” who choose heels and dresses, and their whole stereotype is that they’re air-headed or shallow. Remember that women are human beings, and it is in human nature to have multiple interests, to go through phases and to be unique from other people.

Discussions around how we represent femininity will help us realize just how similar we all are, and ultimately allow us to lean on one another and trust that we don’t need to tear each other down to be successful in this world.