Sadly, you haven’t been on the internet if you haven’t, at some stage, come across the phrase, ‘I’m not like most girls.’ Having been on Tumblr since I was around 15, I’ve seen this phrase too many times to count, and it annoys me every time I see it, for a few reasons.
Something I read on Twitter earlier this week inspired me to think about this in more depth. “I think the reason why the phrase ‘I’m not like most girls’ annoys me so much is because women have been conditioned to feel like they have to dissociate themselves from the female gender to be recognised as an interesting human being.”
The phrase does beg the question – what are most girls like? Is there one, standard template, from which a few select people differ?
There is nothing, at all, that every girl has in common.
So why do we have to disassociate from the female gender? The implication seems to be that masculine characteristics are more ‘interesting’, which is inherently problematic. Or, perhaps more infuriatingly, masculine characteristics in a woman are more desirable to men. Yawn.
As stated in the tweet, we are all complex and different. There is nothing at all that all girls have in common anyway. We are all different from ‘most girls’ – because that classification doesn’t really exist.
Behind the ideology is something more damaging, as usually, when the phrase is used, it is to slander women who perform femininity, or have an interest which could be considered even slightly mainstream. Doing these things isn’t bad, so to say you are ‘not like’ this instantly dismisses these things as something less worthy of respect and interest.
You are not worse off than someone else simply because you have different interests, you are just different people.
You are not worse off than someone else simply because you have varied interests, you are just two different people. Women are too often pitted against each other, and the idea of ‘most girls’ just creates another unnecessary competition for women who aren’t even trying to compete. To imply that the way someone else is a woman is less desirable than the way you are, is to imply that there is an inherent set of undesirable traits that they need to be ashamed of.
There aren’t specific pieces of the female gender which are wrong and undesirable. Everyone presents themselves differently, and this is fine. Why put someone else down, to give someone else a better impression of you? Support other women, and they will support you. Most people respond better to not being constantly pitted against each other.
So maybe I am like most girls. We are all different, we have similarities, but regardless, we are still allowed to like ourselves for the complex differences we represent.