It's Okay to be Like Other Girls

“She’s not like other girls.”

We’ve all heard it, maybe you’ve even said it or maybe it was said to you. The, “Not like other girls," phenomenon has been around for decades, probably even longer.  It is a tale as old as time, a guy thinks a girl is pretty, said girl does something stereotypically masculine (ex. throws a football or eats a cheeseburger) which causes the guy to believe he has found the perfect woman because she is not girly, she’s different, she’s “one of the guys.” The problem here is not the existence of tomboys or girls who eat junk food, but rather the idea that a woman is automatically less for participating in stereotypically girly activities, such as shopping, liking makeup, or even eating healthy.  

This trope has always rubbed me the wrong way. When I was younger, I forced myself to be way more of a tomboy than I naturally was because I thought being girly was something to be ashamed of. In every movie I saw, the guy always fell for the “cool girl,” who was different because she did not wear makeup, while the girly girl was always viewed as superficial and mean, depicted as the cool girl’s enemy. I deprived myself from things I actually liked, such as wearing dresses and watching romantic movies, because I thought it would make me less likable. I suffered from internalized sexism, a big problem with women and girls today.

Woman wearing painted jean jacket

Internalized sexism is the attitudes or behaviors by women toward themselves or other women and girls. When you are watching a movie featuring a girl who is “different," she normally says something along the lines of, “I only have guy friends – girls are so much drama.” This is another example of internalized sexism and a result of girls’ beliefs that we can’t relax around each other. It is such a shame because my friendships with other women are some of the strongest in my life and I would not change that for the world. The society that we live in has always pit girls against each other. We are expected to be in constant competition, usually for male attention. Girls are so much more than their relationships with boys and I wish society would tell us that.

Internalized sexism exists far beyond high school, however. I am a proud feminist, but a common misconception in feminism is that it is only for career-driven women, but it is also for women who chose to live a stereotypical housewife life. Feminism is about a woman’s rights to choose her life and if a woman wants to be a stay at home mother, that does not make her less than a woman who wants to be a CEO. They are both strong and empowered because they are each following their individual choices. I am a very strong and independent person who really wants to be a mother one day and that does not make me any less of a feminist or any less of a woman. It is empowering because it is my choice. The bravest thing you can do is be yourself. 

two women sit on a swing set. they are facing each other.

As I have gotten older, I have realized how much I love being a girl. Girls are powerful and incredible and so inspiring. Tomboy, girly, or anywhere in between, women are strong and unique. Not two of us are exactly the same, and that is something we all have in common. I am amazed by them every day and I want everyone to realize that it is okay to be like other girls. In fact, it’s a good thing, because girls are pretty great.

 

HCXO, Maeve