Why is this a literary trope? Why does this surface in nearly EVERY novel written by a young author? Wattpad- a website populated solely by teenagers- is crammed with stories that contain that little phrase ‘not like other girls’
What’s so bad about being like other girls?
In our society, this has come to mean not liking pink. Not taking delight in looking pretty. Not despising video games, and beating the typical MaleLoveInterest at them.
And until this phrase disappears from writing, we haven’t truly conquered gender roles.
The classic protagonist of our time is quirky. Shy. Awkward. Not conventionally Attractive. And of course, this is what sets her apart. Protagonists that are pretty, and smart, and happy are thrown aside, labelled Mary Sues, branded as the authoress’s wish fulfilment. But in this creation of a relatable protagonist (I’d even call myself awkward and unsocial), we’re just building up gender stereotypes. Why aren’t ordinary women considered important?
MARY SUES, what an anti-feminist idea.
There’s a new Star Wars movie, and the main character is a girl. Rey can control the Force AND is a great pilot, and there are multiple arguments thrashing out the mysterious history of her parents.
But besides the assumed love of feminists for a badass female character, there’s also a lot of hate.
Is Rey too perfect?
Even screenwriter Max Landis has criticised her, calling the movie ‘The Mary Sue Awakens’
And of course there’s been backlash. Some love her, some hate her. But seriously? She’s not that much more over-talented than Luke or Anakin were.
My personal problem is the usage of the word Mary Sue.
Sure, there’s a floating idea of Gary Stu, the male version of a Mary Sue. However, the entire idea of a Mary Sue rises from the fact that certain men just think that women can’t be as good as them. Isn’t Luke too good to be true as well?
And why does Edward fall in love with Bella? Because she’s different. He falls for a girl with basically no personality, and teenage girls adore the book.
(and apparently, this book is terrible, because teenage girls like it)
Just a few examples of the best of pop culture showcase the worst of literary tropes.
What are you throwing at our generation?
And the biggest problem I find with the not like other girls cliché? It means that our self worth is defined by men. Our attractiveness to them is important, and by being different, we rise in their esteem. Why is society telling us that being pink and girly are things we both should be, and should be ostracized for? Some feminists have grasped desperately at the second idea, and overdo being girly, or underdo being girly.
Adore loving pink. Adore hating pink.
But don’t do either because it’s ‘girly’.