Georgie tackles the phrase “I’m not like other girls” this International Women’s Day.
I am an amalgamation of every woman I have ever known, every book I have ever read and every film I have ever seen. I am not like the other girls. I am all of the other girls.
Just as there is no original thought, there is no individual that is totally original either, and to insinuate that I am anything other than a product of every brave, strong, wonderful woman I have spent my life with, is not only naïve, but insulting. I am proud to be like my mother – witty, resilient and consistent in my dreams. I am proud to be like my friends – genius, compassionate and selfless. I am also proud to be like my father – stoic, kind and patient. I am, just as everyone on this earth is, a messy, complicated selection of all the best qualities of those around me.
In every lecture, every important meeting, every social situation I have a 50% chance of being heard and engaged with, according to my ‘non-girly’ attire. Jeans equate to equality, a real shame given I’m a sucker for a flowy dress. From what I have experienced and from what I have heard from other women’s experiences, the legitimacy of my perspective is only received according to a male understanding of how untypically girly I am, provoking the phrase which I have had recited to me countless times throughout my short existence: “You’re not like the other girls.”
My femininity is not my weakness, my weakness is giving time to anyone who argues otherwise. Women are the strongest people I know. I am proud to be a woman, proud to be surrounded by women. We comprise half of the worlds population and yet have always been seen as lesser, for a reason that seems to change shape with every passing generation. To describe myself as ‘not like the other girls’ is false and ignorant and unappreciative of every person who has gotten me to where I am now.
Why can I only be seen as important, intelligent and powerful when compared to other women? I want to be able to stand tall and shine for every aspect of my being, including and most importantly for the parts which have been ingrained upon me by the wonderful women who have surrounded me since day dot. I want to be able to head into a conversation and know I will be given the same acknowledgement and attention that my brothers, father and male friends would be given without a second thought.
I am tired of being hushed or silenced with a raised hand, I am tired of being disregarded because of my vagina or my makeup or the clothes I wear. Women are strong, intelligent and go through so many hardships that men will never know. And yet we are still seen as weak.
I am not important because I am not like the other girls, I am important because I am all of the other girls. My femininity is not my weakness.