The phrase “I’m not like other girls” is one that gets thrown around on the internet constantly. Whether it’s within a meme or someone who is genuinely referring to themselves as that, it’s a phrase that is a lot more harmful than you may think. Why is being “like other girls” something that is seen as so undesirable by many?

For some context surrounding this phrase, when someone says that they’re not like other girls, this means that they’re not interested in things that are typically perceived as feminine, such as enjoying wearing makeup, dressing up, and only liking mainstream media. By putting these typically feminine things in a negative light, it makes femininity into something that could be perceived as a weakness and something that we should never strive towards. This proves that this phrase is rooted in sexism. 

If you were active on any social media site in the early 2010s this is definitely a phrase that you’ll be familiar with. While the idea surrounding it has been around for many years, the phrase became especially popular online in this past decade. On social media, the phrase is typically paired with someone pointing out what could be considered their flaws in order to show how different they are from the “basic” girls who like stereotypical feminine things. These kinds of posts are often made in meme format, and the traits that they claim to have in order to reject femininity tend to revolve around loving to eat a lot, being antisocial, and enjoying stereotypically masculine things. This phrase is huge in fandoms surrounding things that tend to have an overwhelmingly male fanbase. Often with these fandoms that are made up of mostly men (Star Wars, superhero franchises, etc.), misogyny is very prevalent within the community. It’s likely that this phrase is being used to seek male validation from other members of these fandoms or communities that they are a part of, but why is it that they have to tear down other types of girls in order to have a man react to them in a positive way? Why do men see it as a compliment when they tell you that you’re not like those other girls?

While the phrase has gained popularity online in recent years, the idea around the phrase has been around for centuries. One of the most famous examples is the comparison between Mina Harker and Lucy Westenra in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In the novel, Mina is seen as this intelligent, independent woman who possesses many skills of a man. She is described as the “New Woman” which means that she threatens conventional ideas about what it meant to be a woman in Victorian England. Lucy is described as a beautiful and promiscuous woman who is mostly interested in finding a husband. She would be considered the Victorian ideal for womanhood. Throughout the novel, Mina is constantly praised for her intelligence and the way that she rejects femininity. She is even praised for having a “man’s brain.” On the other hand, everyone praises Lucy for her angelic looks, and her main focus is finding a suitable man to marry. Lucy’s femininity and promiscuity is what (spoiler alert) eventually leads to her death. Why is it that Lucy’s femininity ends up being a weakness but Mina’s “man’s brain” is what saves the day? The comparison between these two characters highlights how these sexist stereotypes of the different types of women can be extremely harmful. In the novel, the men see it as a compliment to not be considered “like other girls” and that having male attributes can be seen as superior, and even a strength. This just emphasizes the idea of femininity being a weakness, which leads to a misogynistic mindset.


When thinking about traditional gender roles, it’s hard to say whether or not they should completely be rejected or not. Lately, rejecting traditional gender roles has become a very major trend in the feminism movement, and I think that this is a very positive idea. But sometimes with this movement, it becomes less of just rejecting traditional roles and more of a rejection of femininity. The movement should be more focused on people doing what makes them comfortable, no matter how they choose to follow or not follow gender roles. No, we shouldn’t just have passive acceptance of traditional gender roles and people should be allowed to reject expectations, but things seen as traditionally feminine should still be embraced by those who like them.

Sometimes, it feels like we just can’t seem to win. If we’re just “like other girls” we get criticized for being too “basic”, and then if we’re different and don’t fit into the standards that people want us to fit into we also get criticized. Whether we’re considered “basic” for being like other girls or weird for trying to be different, we’re at a time where we need to finally bridge this divide and come together.

About the Author

Hi! I'm Megan and I'm a fourth year English major. This is my first year writing for WEW and I'm really excited about it! Some of my favourite things to do in my free time are watching movies, reading, and baking. My favourite movies are La La Land (2016) and Little Women (2019) and my favourite book is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I'm looking forward to sharing my ideas with everyone and also learning about new topics from the other writers!