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Why “You’re Not Like Other Girls” Isn’t a Compliment

The other day, my friend got a message from a guy she’d been texting for a couple days. At the end of it, he wrote, “You’re not like other girls.” Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I’m sure he meant it to be positive/flirty. But she showed me the message, a bit indignant. “What’s wrong with other girls?” she asked me.

A quick Google search will show that we’re not the only ones put off by this. Young women write blog posts. A men’s advice site lists the phrase as one of the Top Ten Things to Never Say to Women. It’s even considered a TV trope! This line has been repeated to women countless times, in real life and in movies.

It’s meant to be a compliment. But instead of saying she’s “unique,” there’s a deliberate distinction setting apart all other members of a gender. It leaves you asking what the “other girls” did wrong. And that’s where the problem lies: the implication that being a girl isn’t desirable. That the reason she deserves his attention was because she wasn’t really a girl. It’s an insult masquerading as praise. Our society does strive to be unique and different. But not at the expense of others. A compliment is meant to build someone up. It shouldn’t tear another down at the same time.

You see, there’s nothing wrong with “other girls.” 

Here’s a mini-tangent about how great girls are: Despite the “catty” stereotype, girls look out for each other. You don’t have to go anywhere alone, including the bathroom. And once you’re in the bathroom, chances are you’ll be complimented on your outfit, hair, or lipstick. If you ask any group of girls for a tampon, they will all immediately search their bags. Girls stick together.

So here’s a tip: don’t try to pit us against each other. Simple infatuation may seem to have the upper hand at first, but her girls will win out in the end. Compliment us on our intelligence, our jokes, or our smiles. But don’t put down other women. Sure, we might want to go on a date with you, but chances are we are perfectly happy to stay in with our friends.

As Leslie Knope says, uteruses before duderuses.


 

And if you’re a girl who claims you’re not like other girls, please check out this article.

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