Singer and actress of Hailee Steinfeld performs at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival. Steinfeld recently released a song titled “Most Girls”. Photo by MTV.
By KATY MAYFIELD – Print Viewpoints Editor
Viewpoints Editor Katy Mayfield is sick of the phrase “I’m not like most girls.”
On March 28, singer and actress (of “Starving” and “Pitch Perfect” fame) Hailee Steinfeld released a new song. I had listened to her previous hits, “Starving” and “Rock Bottom”, at top volume while in my room, walking the halls and riding the bus for weeks, so I was thrilled.
I was less thrilled to hear the name of the new track: “Most Girls.”
My brain easily completed the refrain: “I’m not like most girls.”
I’m not parsing when I say that cheesy pickup line is a reflection of deep self hatred and internalized sexism.
Don’t roll your eyes.
If being unlike most girls is something to brag about, the implication is that most girls are awful. In essence, it says, “I’m not like other girls in that other girls SUCK.”
For instance, “I’m not like most girls” can sometimes mean “I’m just one of the guys.”
“The guys” watch football on Sundays or Mondays or whenever football happens, chug beers, crack jokes, and can generally relax.
If a girl is down to watch sports and can laugh along at sexist jokes, she “can hang.”
“Most girls,” meanwhile, can’t hang. Most girls are too sensitive, too uptight, take jokes too seriously and like girly pink stuff like makeup, dancing and white wine.
“Most girls'” other sibling is “I don’t have many girl friends.” That’s again supposed to be virtuous: it says that one can’t just hang with the guys, but prefers to. It says she’s tired of the constant drama and bitchiness of girl groups, or that she’s done putting up with all the spa days and gushing about boys that her female friends subjected her to.
Furthermore, claiming separation from other girls only acquiesces to the assumption that all girls will sell each other out and tear each other down to get a man; that best friends will compete for and be torn apart over a guy, that all women spend their time plotting to prove they’re hotter and cooler than their friends to catch guys’ eyes.
As a nail-painting, skirt-wearing, Glee-watching, candle-buying, Ariana-listening traditionally-feminine feminist, I’m tired of the implication that I’m a worse, less intelligent and less valuable person because of my femininity.
As an uptight, microaggression-calling, emotional, sensitive teenage girl, I’m tired of the implication that femininity is inherently inferior.
As a boy-crazy, gossiping friend to other boy-crazy, gossiping young women, sometimes ones who are after the same guys as I am, I’m tired of the expectation that I should try to be hotter and thinner and cooler than my friends to win random dudes’ attention.
As a woman, I’m tired of this.
When you say that you’re “not like most girls,” you tell guys that all women are alike, and that men are right in their assumption that we’re inferior. You tell men the only way a woman can be valuable is if she tries to be like a man.
You sell us out for a date.
I thought Hailee Steinfeld had sold me out. Then, early Friday morning, she released the new track. I tensed up, waiting to be reminded how much less valuable I am than my guy friends because I wear lavender and don’t laugh at rape jokes.
“Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful/Most girls work hard, go far. We are unstoppable/Most girls are fighting back every day, no two are the same.”
Hailee is right. Women, in a shocking turn of events, aren’t all the same. There is no “most”. So I’m happy to be like and unlike all women, and even more so, I’m proud to be one of them.
I want all girls to be able to say the same.