Mit diesem unscheinbar scheinende Satz sagt man mehr über sich selbst aus, als man denken mag.
„Oh, I am not like other girls.” Maybe you have heard someone in real life or in a movie say this or maybe you have even said it yourself. But what does “not being like other girls” actually mean? Is it a bad thing to be like the other girls? Is it just a saying, which highlights your uniqueness, or does it have slightly misogynistic connotation?
What’s Hidden Behind This Sentence
To answer the last question, yes it does have sexist implications, but why? Well, let’s just assess the statement. By saying you are “not like other girls”, you separate women into two categories; the ones who are like the others and the ones who are not. By doing this separation it automatically establishes that being part of the other group is something negative. This means that being part of the majority, the other girls, is inherently bad.
But this awakes the question who the “other girls” are. In most cases they are what you picture a stereotypical girl to be like. This could be, for example, liking pink, liking makeup, or being interested in fashion. Why would liking any of these things be bad? Well, they are not. There is obviously nothing bad with any of these things.
But the reason why a lot of girls and women try to separate themselves from these stereotypes is because of internalized misogyny. That’s the dislike and contempt for other women, which is, for example, expressed through diminishing the experiences of other women or tearing them down. That basically acting sexist towards other women, even though the person doing this is also a woman, is the result of living in a society which promotes these beliefs and that leads to girls absorbing these norms and consequentially internalizing them.
Norms and Stereotypes
So, now that we have established that the reason why a lot of girls try to separate themselves from certain stereotypes is because of internalized misogyny, one wonders why this separation is bad. Let’s use an example to answer this question. If someone is told that liking pink is bad, because liking pink makes you dumb, after a while you do not want pink to be your favourite colour. And in itself, there is nothing bad with not wanting to follow certain norms and stereotypes, this is not the root of the problem. But because one is told that liking pink is dumb, after a while, one assumes that all the girls who like pink must also be stupid. And because one does not only actively try to separate oneself from a group of people, but categorizes them and assumes things about them, it automatically tears other women down.
If, in order to elevate yourself, you have to do this by pushing others down, the statement “I am not like other girls” is more than just a simple statement. Because this is not a form of resistance against the already existing stereotypes against women, but rather another way to fuel the hatred against women, because it again just shames women for simply liking some things.
This seems like an inescapable cycle, because one is not able to follow stereotypes, without certain things being assumed about you, because of generalizations, but even if do not follow them, one faces judgement. The only way to truly escape this, is by changing ones thinking. By being aware of this behaviour and recognizing it, one can already make a huge step forward. But one also has to apply it onto one’s everyday life and one’s own prejudices against certain groups of people. At the end of the day, liking pink only means you like pink and nothing else.