Boys, friends, family, they tell you you’re not like those other girls, you are different.
Catty, mean, cliquey, and dramatic the world seems to be filled with girls who give their gender a bad rap. School always have cliques, boys get played, and bullying happens, girls will be girls right?
I have had my fair share of mean girls and bullying. I had my group of friends in school and I knew who were the “popular girls.” Whenever I would share with family my problems, they always would sigh and say of course we all know what you’re going through girls have always been catty and mean. Why then was I not this female cliché? Because I was different, I was “not like other girls”.
With boys I often got the “you’re not like other girls” as well. I play video games, hunt, wasn’t into drama, am rational, and straight forward, and to many guys, this was “special.” The female sex has been labeled a certain way, and if you don’t fit the mold you are a wonderful anomaly. This implies that the female sex as a whole has been labeled “bad”. I had to ask myself, am I really one of the few good ones, or is my sex just simply mislabeled?
In June 2016 I attended the NCCWSL (national conference of college women student leaders) conference in D.C. Women worked together, workshopped, and bonded. Halfway through my conference, I took a step back in awe. 900 women lived and worked together for a week, and there were no cliques, drama, or cattiness. How could “typical girl behavior” disappear for a week, what was different? At first, I thought the caliber of women lead to this environment, but as I thought more, I realized something else was missing. Racism, judgment, sexism, boys, and most importantly societal standards of women. If you take out the socially constructed girl vs girl competition, and what unfair societal judgments, that unfairly termed feminine behavior seems to be gone. Yes, day to day girls seem to be more verbal than physical in attacking one another than boys. Observable behavior, I am suggesting, is greatly impacted by societal norms and generalizations.
So why am I upset when people say I’m “not like other girls”?
Because girls are smart, kind, strong, and rational. “Most girls” are not mean and catty, some are, as there are mean people everywhere, but our sex is not inherently mean. Woman as a sex are great, and as I learned in the conference, there are many talented and ambitious women out there. Being a rational and honest girl is not out of the ordinary. While mean girls exist, the ones that are bully’s and heartbreakers are surprisingly the few. Your perception of “female” behavior is based on who you surround yourself with, what you're taught, and what society tells you.
I am unique and different, but I am like other girls. I am strong and capable, like other girls. I will continue, to be honest, work hard, and empower other women to support one another so that when people talk about “other girls” they look at our generation and say yes I am a girl (or a woman), and I am proud of what that means.