Opinion: Teenage Girls can’t do Anything Without Being Criticised and it is Infuriating



Image Source: @sacree_frangine on Instagram

Analise Bruno, Writer

“You’re not like other girls” Well, what’s wrong with other girls?

 There is often this unspoken culture that involves making fun of teenage girls for their likes and interests whether it comes from boys, adults, or even fellow girls. This culture often puts impressionable girls under the microscope and perpetuates the idea that we all only like things that are weird, shallow, basic, or done for the direct attention of guys which makes it hard for us to like or do anything without the looming fear of being judged. 

I had never noticed how prevalent this concept of scrutinizing teen girls for their interests was in society until I became more active on social media platforms, such as that of Tiktok. Scrolling through my For You Page, I noticed an array of videos being devoted to poking fun at teenage girl’s interests, dances, or content in general. “The f in women stands for funny” is what some teenage boys comment, “What a pick me” “This is why I don’t want a daughter” “You’ll do anything for attention” “You females are getting dumber by the day” are just a few others I have etched into my memory. I initially thought this was a new, and quite offensive “trend” until I realized that this ignorant act was not something ever unheard of, it’s been happening for years. Whether the scrutiny was coming from what we wore, what sports we played, what music we listened to, what interests we had, there always seemed to be some backhanded rebuttal from friends, family, acquaintances, and even random strangers that would poke fun at the stuff we liked. The point is, this culture is normalized more than you would assume.

You like pop music? Basic. You like alternative music? Wow, you’re so “quirky”. Oh, you like sports? Are you even a fan or are you just trying to impress a boy? You like X movie? What a fangirl. You read for fun? What a nerd. You like pink and girly stuff? How typical. Don’t like to dress feminine? What a “pick me.” We can’t escape it. This concept of constantly trying to enjoy something while simultaneously being judged for it is not just a trend circulating on platforms like Tiktok, it is a culture ingrained into our society. If we like common things we’re labeled as basic, if we take interest in something that is labeled as more “masculine” like sports, the validity of our interests is undermined and questioned yet again. I’ve had friends who liked generic movies like Twilight get made fun of for liking such a “boring chick-flick”, I’ve known some who have gotten teased for being obsessed with One Direction, and I’ve even seen some girls be torn down for wearing skinny jeans now that baggy and more flared styles are coming back. There is truly nothing we can do or like without it being made fun of.

What I often find most interesting about this concept is that most people rarely acknowledge how little it’s talked about despite its apparent prominence. Notice how you seldom see video games, TV shows, movies, or bands directed towards men ever being made fun of relentlessly, whereas female-oriented movies, shows, songs, and bands are always being joked about. However, it’s not only boys who contribute to the negativity directed towards teen girls, it’s also some of the teen girls themselves. We so badly want to enjoy our interests without the fear of being stereotyped and labeled with a term of mockery that we subconsciously judge other girls for liking different things. Think about every time you have ever judged another girl, even if it were silently, for doing or liking something that you thought was “weird” solely because you were conditioned to think so. It has become so enriched in our society that this type of subtle internalized misogyny exists inside us all whether we recognize it or not.

Simply put, somewhere along the way, we as a society have begun poking fun of teenage girls for doing any basic subconscious thing which has resulted in many, like myself, limiting what we allow ourselves to like. There has suddenly been an addition of doubt and fear when it comes to having simple interests because no matter what we indulge in, there will always be labels, and comments, and snarky remarks directed towards us that detach the likeliness of something we enjoy. That stress is what developed the “I’m not like other girls” propaganda, in my opinion, because we are so afraid of being labeled something like “basic” “vsco girl” “weird” “fangirl” “attention seeker” “pick me girl” “emo girl” “quirky” etc. We take the preventative measure to detach ourselves from these stereotypes to avoid scrutiny only to have it turned on us because then we are “trying too hard to be different.” Therefore, when reflecting on this concept myself, I was trying so hard to figure out how this culture of mockery came to be? Why do people always call us “basic” or “trend followers” in a negative sense to demean our interests? I think a lot of it comes from our own internalized sense of misogyny. From a young age, girls are taught to despise being like “other girls” because then you aren’t unique enough. However, if you are too unique or are too original then you’re scrutinized for trying to be “quirky” or a “pick me.” Conversely, internalized misogyny in others has told them that women being passionate about something, creative, intelligent, or even plain average isn’t normal opening the door for a ridiculous amount of jokes and taunting to arise. 

So what’s wrong with “other girls”? And what’s so bad about being like “other girls”? Who even are these “other girls” we seem to internally despise so much? What’s so awful about them that all of society seems to want to beat them down all the time? I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to eliminate this brutal culture founded on scrutiny and misogyny completely because there will always be people who like to poke fun at teenage girls for laughs. However, I hope that girls everywhere will learn that no matter who taunts what they do or like, their interests and hobbies will never be invalid. Truthfully, there is no shame in “being like other girls” because those “other girls” are just as amazing. My biggest piece of advice is to simply keep enjoying what you enjoy and keep liking what you like because other opinions don’t dictate your self worth.