Rosemary’s Rambles: To be or not to be like other girls

In her third installment in a series of columns, WSS reporter Rosemary Timmer Hackert ’23 examines the “not like other girls” meme.

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Rosemary Timmer-Hackert

The third installment of Rosemary’s Rambles discusses the “not like other girls” internet meme.

To be or not to be like other girls, that is the question. For those who don’t know, “not like other girls” is a phrase coined by the internet to refer to a girl who rejects everything to do with traditional femininity. I myself went through this phase during elementary school. I repainted my bedroom wall from purple to yellow, donated most of my dresses to secondhand stores and forced everyone to call me by my full name, deeming the nickname “Rose” too girly. 

The general consensus on the internet is that a lot of teenage girls are doing this for attention from boys. This is made extremely clear by the fact that the alternative phrase used to describe them is “pick me” girls. But personally, I don’t really think that is the case. I believe this trend has a lot less to do with attracting male attention and a lot more to do with internalized misogyny.

The main issue with the “not like other girls” phenomenon is that it supposes that being like other girls is a bad thing. It’s a remnant from how you were complimented by being told you didn’t throw like a girl or that you were much more chill than the other girls with all their drama. It’s pretty much the definition of internalized misogyny. We’re led to believe that women are less than men, so we feel the need to distinguish ourselves from other women to feel like we are equal to men. While it is true that society has made a lot of progress towards equality, we still hold a lot of notions about the difference between boys and girls. 

If you want an internet example of this, take the girls locker room vs. boys locker room meme. There is nothing overtly sexist with it, but taken as a whole it presents girls as superficial and boring compared to boys. Honestly, it’s pretty much the “not like other girls” meme, but instead, it’s “I’m not like other girls, I’m a guy and we’re cooler.”

The reason I originally entered my “not like other girls” phase was because I saw how people viewed my peers and I didn’t want to be seen like that. At my elementary school, girls were either perceived as drama-obsessed and fake or basic and boring. I didn’t want to be either of these things, so I tried to escape them by rejecting everything to do with other girls. For me, at least, my “not like other girls” phase had nothing to do with boys.

Not everything girls do revolve around men, and the fact that a lot people have this assumption is another example of how misogyny still exists in our society.”

— Rosemary Timmer-Hackert '23

Let’s take it back to the claim that girls are acting this way to get attention from males. Is this probably true for some girls in specific cases? Yes, but I think it’s problematic to dismiss this trend as just girls trying to get guys. Lots of people claim that about traditionally feminine girls too, saying that they only wear makeup and heels to try to attract guys. Really, no matter how a girl chooses to act it is always assumed that it is for this purpose. Not everything girls do revolve around men, and the fact that a lot people have this assumption is another example of how misogyny still exists in our society.

If you’re like me and have been through your “not like other girls” phase already and have grown out of it, congratulations on your character development. If you’re currently in it right now, first off good job recognizing it. Really the only way out is to connect with other girls and realize that we’re more than what society makes us out to be. If you’re watching this phenomenon from the outside, please do not just dismiss it as teenage girls looking for attention. All that really does is detract from the real issue here, the misogyny sitting beneath the surface of our society that makes so many girls feel like they can’t just be a normal girl.