Putting an end to comparison: Girls need to build each other up, not tear each other down

Shay Radhakrishnan, Math and Science Academy

“… Slowly ease yourself off of comparing yourself to other girls. Not only will you be doing her a favor, but you’ll be helping yourself”

“I’m not like those other girls.” “You’re not like those other girls.”

Two variations on the same con­cept. A concept used so frequently within modern media and literature that we have to label it a trope—an overused plot device. And it’s not just a fictional creation, it’s perpetu­ated in the real world, too.

This idea is so common in everyday conversation that it can’t be called “kids trying to elevate their status among the billions of others.” It is girls pitting themselves against each other in an imaginary competition. It is, essentially, internalized misogyny—when girls are being sexist toward others of their own gender.

This fictional competition and bizarre belief leads to bullying via social exclusion and malicious rumors. This fictional competition makes girls feel like it’s okay to say they like being friends with guys because boys are all so chill but girls are crazy and dramatic. People of all genders tend to compare themselves to others, but in the case of girls, it’s more rampant due to the sheer amount of expectations we are given.

There are 3.5 billion women on this planet. And like all other people, women differ from one another greatly. Saying that women are hard to make friends with is ridiculous. At that point, they’re not the problem—you are.

The rivalry is only exacerbated by the media that we consume. A TVtropes.org post titled “Not Like Other Girls”—which explores this same idea in television—aptly states that “by saying that your intel­ligence, sense of humor, or inde­pendence make you ‘different from other guys/girls,’ it’s implied that the rest of your gender sucks.” For example, the character “Robin” from “How I Met Your Mother” has no female friends, barring Lily, for the purpose that she cannot stand the company of other women.

Gee. What a compliment.

It seems that the “special snow­flake syndrome” is not limited to fictional characters on television or in books, but imbued within girls in real life.

Why are so many people under the impression that all girls are inter­ested in the same things? That all of them, all 3.5 billion of them—bar­ring the special few—love makeup, shopping and talking about boys? The special few get to be their own people, interested in sports, books and Doctor Who. And if you are caught doing any of the typically “feminine” activities, that cancels out the rest of your personality.

We are exposed to this competi­tion at a young age. Take Cinderella, a classic children’s story. Cinderella suffers under the hands of her step-family, but when she goes to the ball, she’s the prettiest one there and is swept away by the prince. The prettiest one. This is basically what is ingrained into young girls’ minds: the best girl gets the guy.

When you’re constantly fed a diet of what the ideal person is like, and tips on how you can join the ranks of perfect goddesses (which are completely ridiculous requests), it’s hard not to hate people you perceive as being perfect.

When you’re tearing other women down in this imaginary com­petition, you are helping the media by buying into their “perfect woman” lie and giving men the right to take stock in these stereotypes. This is why it’s important for us to hold each other up instead of trying to push one another over. If a girl doesn’t like sports—or if she does—that’s her business. She’s not playing to a stereotype, she is just following her own interests.

It’s hard not wanting to throw yourself out of the rankings entirely and say you’re on a different level than everyone else. That yeah, you don’t like makeup and you’re not a big fan of dressing up. But hey, you love reading and sports and you can rock baggy sweaters like nobody’s business.

Instead of doing that, slowly ease yourself off of comparing yourself to other girls. Not only will you be doing her a favor, but you’ll be help­ing yourself.