"I'm not like other girls" and Other Problematic Anti-Girl Behavior

Why we should put a stop to internalized misogyny and end girl hate.
by Lynn Lopez   |  May 13, 2017
Image: Lionsgate
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Misogyny is exhibited in different ways, and it doesn't come as a complete surprise if we hear guys saying things that stereotype or even insult women, whether they mean it or not. But sometimes, the misogynistic, anti-girl comments and behavior come from women, who may still be holding on to the ideas they heard as they were growing up and consider them fact. 

"But I'm a girl! How could I be a misogynist?" you might ask.

It might seem strange to think that a woman could do or say things that indicate a dislike for women, but remember that internalized misogyny is a real thing. Internalized misogyny doesn't necessarily mean that you hate women or believe that they're inferior; it manifests mainly through a distrust of other women, competition, and being judgmental of other women, among other ways, or behave in ways that try to gain the approval of men.


Just take for example a statement we hear all too often: "Malandi siya" or "Maarte siya." We judge someone as malandi or maarte even before we get to know them simply based on what they look like, and for some women, being malandi or maarte is reason enough to not like someone. The same attitude even extends to people we don't know. We see someone hanging out with a celebrity or a guy we like and immediately proclaim her malandi whether or not she is actually throwing herself at the person.

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This thinking becomes even more harmful when directed at someone who just experienced an embarrassing moment or some traumatic incident, such as getting catcalled. There are women who have shared a story about getting catcalled, only to be told "Kasalanan mo yan, bakit ganyan ang suot mo?," "Ayan, malandi ka kasi eh," or any similar comment. This type of victim blaming seems to say that whoever we perceive as malandi only deserves to get whatever bad thing comes their way. Calling other women malandi seems to serve to differentiate ourselves—the moral and proper ones—from those who deserve shaming and misfortune.

Another example is saying, "I'm one of the boys."

Some women consider it a badge of honor to be told that they're koboy or one of the guys because what it means to them is that they're "cool," fun, and easy to be with.

But what that surge of pride in yourself is saying is that you're happy that you have been accepted by men. Your status among the guys can be pretty precarious, because the moment you behave in a way that is considered "girly," you will be subjected to comments like "Ay babae ka pala talaga," "Akala ko cool ka." And that's the point where it should become clear that there are guys who only think a girl is cool if they fit in and act "masculine" and that they still think other girls are weak, silly, and emotional.


Anti-girl behavior also rears its ugly head when women say things like "I prefer hanging out with boys. Girls have too much drama." It's certainly healthy to have friendships with people of the opposite sex, because you get other perspectives on issues and learn to deal with a wide range of attitudes and personalities. But saying that you prefer guy friends to girl friends because guys are easier to deal with buys into the common stereotype that women are too emotional and men are steady, level-headed, and logical. And this limits your ability to handle issues with different people, because you then get used to only certain types of interactions. Rather than avoid women and their so-called "drama," perhaps a good way to deal with things is to learn to be flexible in the way you handle your friendships and realize that people have different problems and need to be dealt with in different ways.


"I don't like girly things" is yet another example of internalized misogyny. Okay, so no one is saying that as a woman, you have to like all things feminine. It's perfectly fine if you really don't like engaging in activities or having items that are typically considered feminine.

But what's not good is when you make yourself sound unique among all of womankind because you like other things and when you put down other women who like, say, the color pink, makeup, rom-coms, trips to the spa, and shopping, just to name a few things that are generally associated with being a girl.

And it becomes even more of a problem if you actively suppress your interest in "girly" stuff just to sustain your image of being not-girly and "different." Which brings us to...

"I'm not like other girls." Saying this might sound harmless to you and is a way to boost your image. But what this is really saying is that you think less of other girls and that you think you're better than every one of them based on the way you think other girls are like—and this thinking is usually based on what we are often told about being feminine and being women in general.


We hear that women are weak, overly emotional, and too interested in frivolous things and immediately see those as a bad thing, but we believe none of those traits applies to us personally. If we think that we're strong, smart, and multifaceted, then isn't it possible that other girls feel the same way about themselves?

It's true that you aren't like other girls—in the same way that no girl is exactly like every other girl in the world. But what we do have in common is that we all deal with misogyny in various forms, and it's a good idea to stand together against that instead of treating other girls like the enemy.

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Lynn Lopez
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