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:
Or this one:
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.
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