By: Logayna Kadry
“I’ve never really gotten along with other girls, they’re all too bitchy and dramatic, unlike me. All they care about is makeup and gossip. I, on the other hand, am one of a kind. I’m so quirky and different! I’m just simply not like other girls.”
Anyone who’s ever been into Wattpad or used to read YA novels as religiously as I did, has been subjected to some ‘problematic’ character tropes, like the ‘bad boy’ trope for example or the ‘bitchy popular girl’, but there’s one trope that trumps all of them on the problematic scale, one that makes your jaw clench and eyes roll and that trope is, yes you guessed it folks, the ‘I’m not like other girls’ trope or how I like to call it the ‘internalized misogyny of this generation’. As much as I’m sick of authors who make their characters like that, I’m sick of girls who actually behave like that and hold these beliefs to be true in real life.
Internalized misogyny or the rejection of feminine traits not only by males but by females as well isn’t a new revolutionary discovery. Though most common in men, misogyny also exists in and is practiced by women against other women or even themselves. Misogyny functions as an ideology or belief system that has accompanied male-dominated societies for thousands of years and continues to place women in inferior positions with limited access to power and decision making. Ever since, in order for women to prove that they’re ‘worthy’ of responsibility, they had to adopt more ‘masculine’ traits, leading us to believe that the only way to empowerment is to mold ourselves in the image of the masculine man while abandoning anyone or anything “feminine.“ The glamorization of the masculine and the demonization of the feminine in society has been going on for quite some time now. We’ve been developing and internalizing hatred of our own gender from a very young age, femininity in literature or cinema is so often synonyms with bad or shallow or superficial or vain, that now an entire gender feels the need to justify their every action and hurriedly reassure whoever is listening that they’re not ‘like other girls’. That whatever negative feminine trait they saw or heard about doesn’t actually apply to them.
I think the reason that phrase annoys me so much is because women have been conditioned to feel like they have to dissociate themselves from the constructs of the gender (of a woman) to be recognized as an interesting human being or someone who deserves respect .
Attacking femaleness, deriding ‘girly stuff’ and rolling your eyes at ‘women’s issues,’ declaring yourself a ‘tomboy’ who gets along better with men because women are silly or petty or whatever – these are expressions of internalized sexism and misogyny . If that’s the way you feel about your own sex you’ll be doomed to feel inferior no matter what you achieve in life. The differences you so proudly vocalize and think set you apart from other women, don’t make you a better or a more tolerable member of your own gender, you’re just as worthy and just as complex and just as smart as the next girl and you both deserve respect, not because you have less feminine traits or you have more masculine interests, but because you’re both human with feelings and dreams and fears and you shouldn’t be shamed for simply just existing. By distancing yourself from your own gender and belittling other women along with shaming them, you cement the idea that being a female is something one should shy away from or not be proud of.
Differentiating yourself from a group, and saying, “Hold up! I’m not with them!” implies that being a part of that group is a bad thing. It inherently implies all other girls are terrible in some way and that your entire gender sucks. In one sentence you’ve devalued an entire gender of intelligent and powerful and creative people. By doing that, all you’re doing is continuing to perpetuate the idea that femininity and women are worthless . You’re working against your own gender, you’re betraying your mothers and sisters, you’re alienating yourself from the only people who actually understand your struggles and the injustice you experience everyday and all of that just to seek man’s approval and continue living in a male dominated and patriarchal world .
Stop shaming girls for their very essence, maybe you’re comfortable making yourself feel inferior to the opposite gender, but that’s your own problem and you shouldn’t bring other girls into it .
Be proud of who you are, be proud of your womanhood, countless of generations have sacrificed themselves for you to have the right to proudly say ‘I am a woman and I am not ashamed of it’ don’t let their efforts be in vain.
a woman is whoever she chooses to be.