Let’s Talk Bookish: “I’m not like other girls” Trope

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is “I’m not like other girls” Trope.

How do you feel about the “I’m Not Like Other Girls” trope in general? Have you ever seen the trope done well?

Generally speaking, this trope is not one I’m fond of. It’s usually used to depict a character that is so different and special from other girls that it somehow makes her better. It can result in the worst kind of character whose ‘special-ness’ is basically her defining quality that makes her either superior to everyone around her or the misunderstood figure who all the other girls are mean to for whatever reason. I find both extremes very annoying and in some cases, this trope has made me come close to DNFing a book more than once.

I think this trope is so common today, especially in YA, that I’ve kind of desensitized myself to it and when I come across yet another princess who hates wearing dresses and dancing and would rather be training to fight with her magic or some obscure weapon, I just roll my eyes and move on with the story. However, it is definitely possible for this trope to be done well if the character has some measure of humility and a personality beyond just being different from other girls and said differences or special abilities actually have some relevance to the plot. I thought that Katniss from the Hunger Games was an excellent example of this trope done well.

Did you ever think you were “not like other girls” OR think that a girl you know wasn’t “like other girls”? Why do you think this trope became so popular? Do you think this trope can be damaging?

I have felt at times that I’m different from other girls in the sense that I’m rarely interested in the latest fashion trends and would much rather prefer a good book over a night out nine times out of ten. But every person is unique and special in some way and while that should be embraced, it doesn’t make them better in any way. I think the main reason why this trope is so widespread is because it’s an attempt to relate to the reader and for the reader to see characters that aren’t always perfect and popular go on adventures and be the hero or perhaps to see themselves represented in a book in some form.

However, this trope can definitely be damaging, because there are a wide variety of readers out there, and there’s no rule saying that readers can’t also be interested in things like fashion or beauty – things that characters of this trope typically tend to disdain. It gives a very wrong impression of what girls should be like. This trope also completely ignores people who might not be avid readers, but just like to pick up a book once in a while, and they are in no way going to be able to relate to this type of character.

Why do you think people lie about reading books? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: “I’m not like other girls” Trope

  1. I'm All Booked Up YA June 11, 2021 / 2:16 pm

    This trope is annoying when it’s the manic pixie dream girl. Some authors try too hard to make the female mc “different” by making her super weird.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hasini @ Bibliosini June 11, 2021 / 11:58 pm

    I agree with your point! I dislike a character whose whole personality revolves around being “different”. It make them bland because they become predictable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) June 13, 2021 / 5:09 pm

      Absolutely – there should be a clear purpose for a character being markedly different. A predictable character can so easily spoil a narrative. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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