3 Pop Culture Examples That Epitomize The Problems With The "Not Like Other Girls" Trope
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3 Pop Culture Examples That Epitomize The Problems With The "Not Like Other Girls" Trope

Because EVERY girl is not like other girls.

3 Pop Culture Examples That Epitomize The Problems With The "Not Like Other Girls" Trope
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The phrase “not like other girls” has been heard for years in TV shows and movies (especially romantic comedies). It has since been adapted into American culture, but it is not the compliment it may seem. Male love interests often try to compliment a girl by assuring her she isn’t like other girls he knows. And girls sometimes say it to attempt to distance themselves from others they may view as competition or lesser. The website TV Tropes has some interesting views of the “Not Like Other Girls” trope used in media. With help from TV Tropes, I have collected a few examples from media in order to explain the underlying problems behind the phrase.

1. "Star Trek."

In the pilot episode of "Star Trek: The Original Series," Captain Pike uses a version of this trope when speaking to Number One. Pike is uncomfortable with women holding high positions on the ship, and says as much to her. He forgets that Number One is on the bridge with him and backtracks quickly by saying “No offense, Lieutenant. You're different, of course.” This is not exactly the way that the trope is used in other examples, but it’s as though Pike sees the female gender as lesser and must overlook Number One’s gender to accept her as a valuable crew member. Number One seems rather affronted by this comment, but says nothing. Honestly, what is there to say in a situation like that?

2. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

In the movie "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the 1992 precursor to the hit TV show, Buffy is told she is “not like other girls” by her love interest, Pike, while at a school dance. “Yes, I am,” Buffy replies, while holding a wooden stake behind her back. While this is probably mostly used for comedic effect, it is a really important representation we hardly ever get to see. Buffy is rejecting the alienation of her fellow females. While there are not too many Chosen Ones walking around, Buffy still recognizes the similarities she shares with her fellow humans and doesn’t try to improve her image by separating herself from them.

3. Michael Jackson.

The music video for Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" also uses this trope for comedic effect. In the video, Michael asks a girl to go steady with him. He flips the audience’s expectations by genderbending the common phrase, boasting "I'm not like other boys." His date responds "I know! That's why I love you!" At the end of the video, we discover that Michael is truly not like other boys. *Spoiler alert* He’s not even human! While this is a bit of a progressive take on the trope, it is important to point out that there is no such thing as “other boys” or “other girls.”

Interests overlap and are very rarely based on a person’s gender. A person is no more or less the gender that they identify as whether they accept or reject certain aspects of what society dictates about that gender (i.e. girls liking makeup and clothes or boys liking

sports). The bottom line is, you should be able to like whatever you want to like regardless of gender. Stop validating harmful gender stereotypes by agreeing to the separation that the term “other girls” or "other boys" creates. If you move away from that language and way of thinking, then real progress can be made toward true equality of the genders.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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