It Took Me Years To Realize Trying Not To "Be Like Other Girls" Isn't Cool — It's Misogynistic

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Self

I’m sure we’ve all seen the films Scott Pilgrim vs. the World or 10 Things I Hate About You or even Twilight.

I remember watching those movies when I was in high school and wanting to be exactly like Kat Stratford or Ramona Flowers or even Bella Swan.

This obsession with being a kind of “cool girl” who has quirky traits and is "different" from all of the other girls plagued me throughout much of my teenage years. I was determined to be one of the “I’m not like other girls" girls — despite not realizing at the time just how misogynistic such a statement truly was.

The whole “I’m not like other girls” phenomenon usually stems from young women expressing their dislike for femininity and feminine characters in order to uplift themselves and push their own “unique” or “quirky” interests into the spotlight. 

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A great example of the 'I'm not like other girls' girl is the manic pixie dream girl, who is described as "a type of female character often depicted as a whimsical, quirky, sometimes eccentric, fantasy woman who saves the male protagonist from himself."

In my teenage years, being in the same category as Kat Stratford or Ramona Flowers was purely based on finding male approval. At the time, I never realized that receiving male validation would somehow come in the form of me tearing down other women just so I would seem different. 

This rebellion against femininity comes from a society that deems popular things with a strong female following as lackluster or vapid. (Boy bands, anyone?) It’s why so many people have had to defend the culture of fangirls. 

But women being in different fandoms, listening to certain music, or even being fans of certain movies don’t make those things any less important or "cool" than if they had a predominantly male fanbase.

I wish I could go back in time and tell that to my teenage self.

I deprived myself of entire genres of music because I didn’t want to seem "basic." I didn’t listen to music that was considered “girly,” because I wanted to be different. I wanted to be the kind of girl that guys looked at and said, “Wow, she’s so much more interesting than all those other girls.”

But I realize how problematic that thinking is now  because there's nothing wrong with girls who wear pink outfits and listen to One Direction. Just like there's nothing wrong with girls who listen to rock music and paint their nails black.

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This issue with portraying women in the media as the popular “I’m not like other girls” trope is just an excuse for young women to watch themselves being bashed in the media. The trope mocks other girls that are essentially portrayed as "more feminine" and pits women against each other, rather than uplifting them.

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Seeing feminine or "basic" women portrayed as vapid and shallow beings often causes young women to often push themselves away from the problematic and demeaning stereotype to the "other," which ironically ends up being a stereotype, too. 

The faster we realize all women are multifaceted beings, the faster we can rid ourselves of this trope altogether.

Women bash each other to appease a sexist society and to appease patriarchal systems that have been in place for far too many years.

Ladies, learn from me: You do not need to isolate yourself or denounce the behavior and actions of other women who are simply trying to forge their own identity in order to feel more comfortable with yourself. 

Feminism should always be about positivity and making sure to spread love to all types of women whether they wear makeup and heels and dresses or anything else you commonly associate with womanhood or NOT — because as a woman, there are already too many negative stereotypes surrounding femininity. We don’t need to add another.

RELATED: How I've Learned To Confront My Female Internalized Misogyny

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.