Most girls are shallow backstabbers who thrive on drama and will do anything for attention, but every once in a blessed blue moon, one comes along who is authentic. She is different because she reads, or because she cares deeply for the suffering of others, or because she likes sports, or because she isn’t catty. She is not like “other girls.”
The tired narrative that women with any shred of emotional or intellectual depth are essentially unicorns who deviate wildly from the typical behavior of Other Girls is everywhere, in books and movies and all our media. It is, of course, bullshit, but that doesn’t stop this self-hating pattern of thinking from permeating the way we see ourselves and the way we see the women around us.
The myth of Other Girls leaves us with hordes of women who proudly proclaim that all their friends are guys, because they just can’t handle girls’ drama, because of course, Other Girls are dramatic. It’s lonely and isolating to believe that all Other Girls are shallow and unlikable, but some girls feel lonely and isolated already, and it’s comforting to believe that our isolation is the tragic result of our exceptionalism. It’s lonely at the top, as they say. If you can tell yourself that you’re the only girl who has complex feelings while Other Girls are mere set pieces—two-dimensional, transparent ghosts hovering around the edges of your life and competing with you for what you want—then maybe you can justify that loneliness and isolation, right?
If you’ve ever embraced the idea that you are a credit to your gender, consider that believing that you’re worth more than Other Girls means you believe that women are inherently worthless. If you think being thoughtful, intelligent, and “complicated” makes you different from Other Girls, consider that you’re saying that women are inherently vapid. If you think being passionate about sports or music or literature or Power Rangers or whatever else on earth you love makes you different from Other Girls, consider that you’re really saying that women are inherently dull and uninspiring.
And if you do feel isolated, ask yourself honestly if it’s because you’ve been shutting out your sisters by acting like you’re better than them before they have the chance to show you who they are and set up permanent camp in your heart. The truth is that every single girl you meet has suffered the sharp stab of a broken heart and laughed so hard she’s almost peed her pants. Every girl you meet has poured her entire heart and soul into accomplishing something, and still failed spectacularly. Every girl you meet would willingly die for a small handful of people. That alone should bring us together. That alone should make us love each other.
The next time another girl gets what you want, be it a man or a job or any other happy ending, don’t comfort yourself with the toxic reassurance that at least you are not like Other Girls. Remind yourself that Other Girls don’t exist, only girls who are capable of feeling as much love and loss as you have. And they are not your enemies.
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