Monthly Archives: October 2015

Not Like Other Girls Syndrome

Hello everyone! We are so excited about today’s post written by our guest Sacha! Sacha reached out to us to share her story and thoughts with everyone. We love when you email us and share your stories. Here is her’s:

Not Like Other Girl Syndrome and Other Differences

Back in 2008 when I was starting high school, the movie Mean Girls had come out just three years before. It was a hit. At that age, and wanted to be either Regina George or Cady Heron, and it wasn’t for the right reasons. The message of the movie and it’s view of ‘girl on girl hate’ was completely missed and misinterpreted.

 

We wanted to be Regina because she was beautiful and got what she wanted and had power and influence over everyone. She wasn’t respected so much as she was feared and that obviously got her by just fine.

 

We wanted to be Cady because she ‘wasn’t like the other girls’. She didn’t dress in short skirts and tear herself apart in the mirror (a trait to be admired). She happily donned tom-boy attire, didn’t own anything pink, and while she wanted to be like Regina and her friends, she was just as happy laughing about them behind their backs and pulling the same catty stunts Regina and her friends did.

 

The only difference was Cady wasn’t outright mean.

 

The movie itself is a great lesson. I can watch it today, almost ten years later, and completely get the point Tina Fey was driving. But back when I was in school, it was a completely different story. Even in my graduating year of 2012, we hadn’t come as far as young girls have today. We were still in the age of being either Cady Heron or Regina George, and still working towards the path of empowerment.

 

“Not Like Other Girls” syndrome was still predominant in our culture, and wanting to be nice and be liked, but be mean and have it understood and praised was completely acceptable. I’m not saying this isn’t going on today, but I am saying I’ve seen the next generation come a lot farther in three years than we did when I was in high school.

So what is Not Like Other Girls syndrome?

To be blunt, it’s girl hate. It’s internalized misogyny. It’s the act of taking feminine traits, such as wearing makeup or skirts, and giving them bad connotations. It’s calling girls ‘sluts’ because they dress a certain way or gain a lot of male attention, or saying phrases like “I don’t hang out with girls because they cause too much drama and I hate drama.”  It’s seeing girls as competition instead of allies.

 

Not Like Other Girls syndrome can best be described with this picture:

not like other girls

 

Or this one:

not like other girls

 

This attitude creates an environment where girls and women are no longer empowering each other, but tearing each other apart to set themselves apart from the group. It’s in an attempt to break away from the negative stereotypes, but in the end creates conflict and a worse situation.

It was unavoidable three years ago. There was some form of it whether it was against your friends, some girl you saw in Wal Mart, at work, at school, it didn’t matter. I watched shows I couldn’t stand and pretended to like things I could care less about because it was better than being labeled along with the ‘other girls’. It was better to pretend it was a ‘them vs us’ situation than to just get along. We all bought into it because we grew up thinking wearing make up was only for attention, and hating on other girls was normal.

 

It’s not.

How is it different today?

 

On January 15th, 2014, Mary Barra was given the position of CEO at GM Motors, the first female CEO in the company’s history, and the 24th CEO to be on the list for Fortune 500, whereas in 2012 the number of female CEO’s finally reached 20. After a quick google search there was no article ripping apart her personal life or her appearance. The first articles to appear were about her making history, what drives her, and one about why she made a decision that she made.

 

Today, I see groups of girls defending each other from this behavior. Girls are embracing their differences and similarities, encouraging each other to be comfortable in their skin and with who they are. I also hear stories of female empowerment, and girls getting interested in STEM and pursuing their interests in those fields. Girls are more welcome to be interested things that are seen as traditionally male, such as gaming, mechanic work, entrepreneurship, even cutting their hair short.

 

The hashtag #girlscan and other campaigns geared towards inspiring girls and women to continue and chase after what they want, no longer being constricted by activities that are ‘for boys only’. Girls are encouraged to become driven, successful, and just as dominant as their male counterparts.

 

If we continue this trend, we can teach and build a generation of girls that know how to stand up for themselves, and put their self worth in what their strengths and talents are. We can teach positivity and influence the younger generations to treat each other with respect, but we can’t do it without learning from the past.

 

Not Like Other Girls Syndrome happens; in a sense it’s a normal part of growing up when girls are finding their own personality, but we can (and should) balance out the lasting effects and teach lasting positivity instead.

 

Sacha is an aspiring writer, currently feeling the struggle as she shamelessly promotes herself across the internet. She is in love with birds, big dogs that think they’re lap dogs, and all things science. You can usually find her napping, raiding the fridge, or you can connect with her on twitter @staycheesyx

Dear Hope: I Think I’m in Love…Now What?

Dear Hope,in love
I came to you with a question about a year back (a boy and a rumor)….. and I have another question for you.

Have you ever been in love. Like, you already know you do….. I have a pretty definite feeling about it bc I have never felt like this before… there’s a guy at my school, which I just left, and I’ve kind of known for about two and a half years now. I realized it one night when I was thinking about that rumor I told you about.

I just felt it. I’ve never been one to crush on guys…. I went two years without having a crush. I’m your typical nerd stereotype. He’s very athletic, and he has a lot of friends. All of the girls, according to one of them, think he’s “hot”. But I never noticed that about him. When my friend yelled at me in front of the whole lunchroom, he stood up for me and made sure I wasn’t upset.

I don’t and didn’t know him personally, but every time I look at him, I just think about how great of a person he is. His personality is just amazing. Most girls say he’s a jerk, but I’ve never seen him do that. They typically use that as a way to hide that they have a crush on him, and I can tell. I just don’t know what to do, bc I’ve only confided in one person who knows a lot about this, and I thought you may know. He’s just all around amazing, and I feel empty when he’s not around. I thank God for him every night. I have thanked God for him for three years. He, I just missed him when he was right beside me. I don’t get into dating or any of that, but I just missed him. And it grew every day. And he’s been on my mind constantly for three years. I’m thinking about him as I type this at midnight. And now that I’m gone from the school, I just think about him and feel empty without him. I’m pretty sure I love him:

I fell in love with his personality: not looks. I just don’t know where to go at this point. What should I do?

One more thing: I love him so much, but I know he doesn’t feel the same way whatsoever, and all I want for him is for him to be happy. So I don’t want him to feel the same way bc he wouldn’t be happy. I get it. I just don’t know what to do….
– H

 

Dear H,
It’s great to hear from you again. I remember your question about a boy and a rumor. I suggested you take some time to figure out how you felt. It sounds like you have thought a lot about it.

When you fall in love with someone, it feels magical. It can also be a little confusing. I’m glad to hear you say you like him for his personality and not just looks. You see him for the person he is not just his outer shell. I admire that.
You said in your letter that he does not feel the same way, but you did not say how you know that. Are you sure, he does not like you? If there is any possibility, you should try talking to him. Give him a chance.

 

If you are positive that he doesn’t feel that way and you love him from afar, it’s time to move on.

Everything we do in life teaches us a lesson. Each lesson helps you grow. Each experience good or bad, sad or happy, gives insight to who you are as a person.

You have learned what it falling in love feels like.

You have learned how to see someone not just for looks, but to see their character.

 

Those are amazing things to learn and to experience. This next lesson is a little harder.
Learning to let go. Letting go is almost never easy, but it is important. Important because when you let go of one thing, you open yourself up for another. You will feel this way again and someone will feel the same for you. It can be hard to believe that sometimes, but it’s absolutely true. If he does not feel the same way then you should take your focus off him.

 

While you are trying to let go:

It’s okay to be sad. You have had these feelings for a while, so you can’t expect them to go away immediately. Three years is a long time.

Don’t ask about him or check out his social media. Give yourself some time to process how you feel. If time passes and you feel comfortable being around him then that’s fine. If it’s hard think about right now, don’t torture yourself.

Find things to do. When you start thinking about him, (you will), do something to distract yourself. Listen to upbeat music, draw, or get up and dance. Do fun things. Hang out with friends, just don’t talk about him.

Over time, you will start to think about him less and less.

 

There is nothing wrong with loving someone. You have the right to love whomever you choose. However, you deserve someone who feels the same way. Open yourself up for something new.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope

How That Crazy Chick Goldilocks Got It All Wrong

Goldilocks

Do you remember Goldilocks and the three bears?

Yes, the childhood fairytale about the crazy blonde chick. The one that breaks into the house of three bears and eats all of their food and sleeps in their beds.

There is a lot I could say about that story, like the fact that she has some serious personal space issues…but that’s not what this blog is about. Nope! It’s about how that crazy chick Goldilocks got it all wrong.

Let’s play the three little bears game!

Not sure what that is? Well, let me tell you! You have actually all probably played it before. You know in the story how Goldilocks try’s the first bowl of porridge and it’s too hot? Then she tries the next bowl and it’s not hot enough? Well, the game is something like that. It’s when you look at yourself and think you are too much one thing and not enough of another.

We say things like: I’m too fat, too skinny, too tall, and too short. Or maybe you don’t feel smart enough, pretty enough, cool enough or anything else that doesn’t seem good enough.

We pick ourselves apart like Goldilocks picked a bed.

Guess what Baby Bear! You are just right!

She is way too picky.

Do you really want to be like that crazy chick Goldilocks?

Don’t judge yourself.

Don’t ever believe that who you are is not enough! That’s right baby bear, you are just right!        – ttfn G –

Goldilocks

Dear Hope: Ridiculous Curfew

Dear Hope,Curfew
I need your help. I’m 16 and my curfew is 10pm on the weekends and 8pm on weekdays. It’s ridiculous! My friends that have curfews can be home at midnight. I have asked my parents why and they said there is no reason to be out later than that. I have missed out on a lot of things because of this. Most weekends my friends go out to eat and then see a movie. The movie usually gets over after ten. I can go to eat but then I have to go home and miss the movie. I don’t know what my parents think I’m going to do. I just want to be able to have fun with my friends. Last weekend my friend’s mom took them all out for late night pizza, again I missed out. How can I get my parents to ease up on the curfew?
– Jessie

Dear Jessie,
Parents set up curfews as a way to keep their children safe. They like to know that you are home where they can keep an eye on you. It’s really not to aggravate you as much as it can feel that way. Parents don’t always realize how you feel or what you have going on. You need to talk to them.

Make a plan- What do you want to ask them? Think about what you really want.
Some ideas: When your friends go to dinner and a movie can you come home right after the movie.
If they are going with the mom for late night pizza, can you go?
Maybe their mom can call your parents since there will be an adult with you.
You can still come home other nights at the normal curfew time.
Let them you know you will text every hour or so just to check in.

Try to think of ways to start slow so they don’t feel shocked. They are less likely to say no if they think you are trying to compromise.

Talk to them- Let them know you want to talk when they have time. Don’t force it. Parents are busy. They may need to plan a time to sit down and talk to you.
When you talk to them, be calm. Not matter how they react, stay calm. The goal is to show maturity. Show them that you are ready to stay out until a later time. Answer any questions they ask the best you can.

If they say no- Respect their decision. Thank them for listening to you. Even if you are angry, don’t show it. Give them some time. Show them for a couple of weeks that you are responsible. Then ask if you can talk to them again. Explain that you have acted responsibly and that you think you deserve a chance.

If they say yes – Again thank them for listening. Now stick to it. Make sure you come home on time. Show them they made the right choice. Give it a month or two to see if all is going well. Then you can ask them to make it every weekend night and maybe extend the weekday time.

Above all, stay calm! It is your parent’s decision. Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope

Dear Hope: Lipstick Queen

Dear Hope,lipstick

My friend told me my other friend said I wear too much lipstick to a
group of girls. It really hurted my feelings. This isn’t the first time my friend said I wear too much lipstick. I don’t wear heavy eye makeup, so I think it is fine to go a little more with my lips. This is my best friend I have known since the second grade. It really hurt my feelings that she talked behind my back. She isn’t my mom, so she shouldn’t be telling me or anyone else that I wear a lot of lipstick. What should I do?

– Lipstick Queen

Dear Lipstick Queen,
It never feels good when someone hurts your feelings, especially when it’s coming from a friend.

What works best in these situations is being brave.

Be brave enough to ask her why she is saying this. Ask her why she didn’t just tell you herself. Explain how it made you feel and ask her to stop talking about you. Be honest and try to get past this. If she keeps talking behind your back, she’s not a real friend.

Be brave enough to keep wearing the lipstick. If you like it, it really doesn’t matter what other people think. If your parents don’t think it’s too much, then who cares. Keep expressing yourself. Be the greatest Lipstick Queen!

Enjoy being who you are!

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope

Dear Hope: My Mom is Depressed

Dear Hope,Depressed
My parents are divorced and I live with my mom. I see my dad every other weekend. My dad and I get along great and everything is fine with him. It’s my mom that has a problem. She is really depressed. She lays in bed a lot. I have been worried, but thought it would get better. I have tried and tried to cheer her up, but nothing works. It’s been about 2 months and I have been skipping my time with my dad so I can take care of her. I even missed a day of school. I don’t know what to do and I’m scared. I’m afraid if I go to my dad’s she will not take care of herself or she will think I don’t love her. How can I help her? Please help me I’m really worried.
– Worried

Dear Worried,
I’m sorry that you are going through this. This is a lot to handle. It’s too much for you to be doing by yourself. Your mom is depressed and she needs professional care.

Everyone has bad days. Days when you feel sad and don’t want to get out of bed. Normal sadness “depression” can last up to two weeks. If it persists longer, it can require professional help. Depression is an illness. With the right care, it is treatable.

This is not something you can cure for her. As much as your mom loves you, you won’t be able to cheer her up. Depending on how severe her depression is, she may not even be able to focus on you right now. She cannot see past what she is going through. It’s not fair to you or her to keep living this way. You need help.

Can you talk to one of you relatives on your mom’s side? Maybe a grandparent or an aunt? Let them know what is going on. They can aid your mom in getting help. Tell your dad. He needs to know what you are going through. He is there to support and take care of you. You cannot and should not be going through this alone. If you are feeling too overwhelmed it’s ok to get some counseling for yourself. Depression can affect the entire family.

Sometimes loving someone enough is knowing the right way to help them. You have been so strong and trying to do it all, but it’s time to take care of yourself, too. Ask for help.

This will be a new journey for you and your mom. You can still be there for her and still keep trying to cheer her up, while she gets the help she needs. Thank you for reaching out. I know how hard that can be and it shows how much you love your mom. You have done a great job taking care of her, but now it’s time for both of you to get the care you need.

When a parent has depression:
1. They have an illness and you cannot cure it for them.

2. You are not to blame and you are not responsible for their behavior.

3. Don’t take it personally. A person with depression may say things that upset you. They might be acting differently than they used to. Remember the illness is making them behave that way. Your parent still loves you.

4. Depression is treatable.

5. Ask for help. This is so important because you cannot fix the problem.

You can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to their website. They are there to listen and offer you advice on how to get whatever help you need. It is not just about being suicidal.
(800)-273-TALK
(800)-273-8255
National Suicide Hotline (24 hours)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope

Lies Spiders Like to Tell

Spider

The Spider and The Fly
“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“’Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “To ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They NEVER, NEVER WAKE again, who sleep upon YOUR bed.”

Said the cunning spider to the fly, “Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome; will you please to take a slice?
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “kind sir, that cannot be;
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.”

“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf,
If you’ll step in one moment dear, you shall behold yourself.”
I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,
And bidding you good-morning NOW, I’ll call ANOTHER day.”

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon be back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with the pearl and silver wing:
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.”

Alas, alas! How very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly flitting by.
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her crested head – POOR FOOLISH THING! At last,
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlor; but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.
Written by: Mary Howitt

Have you ever listened to a smooth talking “spider”? The spider is a bad influence. He is trying to convince the poor fly to walk right into his trap.

It is easy to be enticed by pretty things and compliments, but those things are not always what they seem. Don’t follow what is “cool” just because it sounds good. Don’t walk yourself into the spider’s parlor.

Sometimes that pretty parlor is just a web of lies. Do what is right for you!