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.

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