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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Augustana chapter.

“And don’t forget, I’m also just a girl” is a phrase that is too easily uttered, raising my concerns of its use to diminish a woman’s abilities, reinforcing outdated stereotypes of womanhood in the 1990’s. 

This quote originated from the 1999 romantic comedy, Notting Hill starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. To briefly summarize, the movie is about an American actress visiting a book store in London, in which their romance starts to kindle. In the final scene, Roberts quotes, “I’m also just a girl” in her final plea to convince him to continue a relationship even though she is famous. 

This soon turned into a TikTok sound created October 14th by Leanne Abdallah. It has been used in over 44,000 TikToks particular women with an instrumental background Where Is My Mind by Novo Piano and the movie audio. It is often used to pretend or act as if one is unable to do something or lacks the knowledge about something as a tactic to avoid responsibility, or even used to justify typical behaviors of women regarding makeup, fashion, or even car troubles within TikTok creation. It can be seen as a form of deception where a person acts more helpless or uninformed than they actually are.

The use of this phrase negatively impacts self-perception and societal expectations of women. In this day and age, women promote feminism, empowerment and challenging traditional gender roles. In more recent years, we’ve seen a significant shift in media representation that aligns with modern feminist ideals. Some examples that provide empowering female characters are Wonder Woman, The Handmaid’s Tale, Black Panther, and The Barbie movie. Now, with movies with multi-dimensional female characters, why are we quoting a movie from the 1990’s that can be used to diminish a woman’s ability instead of modern fem movies? 

In conversation with others, my friend and TikTok user in particular did raise the support that it does provide relatable content for women experiences that are not always acknowledged by society, such as struggles with vanity, although this audio is also used to excuse car accidents, or other legitimate problems which is problematic to the perception of women.

Personally, I am a feminist, fighting for women’s rights and defying the expectations put on us by men. And throughout history we women are fighting for our rights, and the phrase “I’m just a girl” is a step backwards, allowing some men to continue their ways of thinking that women are weak, dainty and simply have no grasp in worldly topics. 

Challenging this phrase can start with self-awareness and correcting ourselves if we ever use it in a way that can be used to diminish a woman’s ability. We can also gently correct others when we hear them say it, offering more empowering language instead. In everyday conversations, it’s about promoting the idea that being a girl or woman is not a limitation but a strength. Highlighting stories and examples of strong female figures who defy the limitations implied by that phrase can also help shift the narrative. Encouraging people to be mindful of the language they use can make a significant difference over time.

Anna Picton

Augustana '27

Anna Picton is a student of Augustana College studying Multimedia Journalism and Mass Communications and Political Science. She enjoys singing with choir, choregraphing and performing dances as well as being creative with art, fashion, music, writing basically everything artistic!