Blog: Women should take pride in being ‘like other girls’

Fumble contributor Charlotte Miller shares her journey of change from a place where she saw women as competition, to inspirational friends

As a dating 15-year-old, I loved hearing that I was different to other girls. It made me feel special.

The first time a boy said those five words — “You’re different from other girls”, I felt a tingling sensation inside my body. My face beamed with happiness as I recounted those five words in my head over and over again.

You’re different from other girls

You’re different from other girls

You’re different from other girls

It felt incredible to be told that I was better than other girls. If I was different, it meant I had less competition. This meant that this guy was more likely to stick around.

It did seem a little strange that I experienced so much happiness at the expense of other women. But not that odd.

Girls are taught from a young age to be critical of other women. If a girl wears short skirts or sleeps with lots of people, she is branded a slut. But if she doesn’t sleep with anyone or flirts too much, she is seen as frigid. If she is brutally honest, we call her a bitch. If she tells someone what to do, she is bossy.

In our society we are encouraged to hate other women. We are taught to feel good when other women fail; our value is determined by other girls’ inadequacies. No wonder I felt so loved when this boy told me I was better than other girls.

He also wasn’t the only guy to tell me those five words. It happened a lot, and I never questioned it.

I thought only I received these compliments from men. But when I started talking to my friends about dating, I quickly realised that most of them had also been told those five words  — “You’re different from other girls”.

It soon became clear that this wasn’t a compliment at all. I looked around the room at my best friends and realised that these words were undermining their individual worth.

Each and every one of them is smart, thoughtful, ambitious, caring, and beautiful. I deeply respect all of them and they inspire me every single day.

Yet every time a guy told me I was different to other women and I didn’t question it, I was undermining their value too. Men were determining my value based on the perceived inadequacies of other girls.

Now when a guy tells me “You’re different from other girls”, I respond: “I don’t know what that means because I really like other women”.

This often confuses them, so I tell them all the things I love about the women in my life. Afterwards, I usually don’t see these men again – but I’m glad. I don’t want to be with someone who can only value me in comparison to other women.

There’s enough space in this world for all women to realise their immense value without tearing another woman down. Tell the women and girls in your life that they are amazing and inspiring!

We have so much to gain from supporting one another.

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