One of my friends and I have been talking for some time about the “I’m not like those other girls” syndrome (let’s call it INLTOG, for short). We both had fallen prey to it, and sometimes, I think I sometimes fall into that trap still though I try to be more aware of my thoughts and actions.
Of course we are all unique. We all have our different quirks and talents and things we do. But when it comes down to it… are we really all that different from other people? We become like the people we spend time with. Anyway, why do we want to be so different from other people? As I’ve thought more about INLTOG, I’ve realized that part of my reasoning has come from all the times I have felt left out. Sometimes I don’t feel like a girl because I don’t know much about makeup or fashion and I don’t like to talk about boys all the time. Sometimes I’ve felt isolated by this fact because a lot of the girls around me always seem to be talking about something I don’t know much about. I’ve been excluded by a lot of them, too. But the truth is… A. Sometimes I am the kind of girl that’s more girly. It depends on my mood, but, more importantly, B. Does it really matter if I’m a stereotype? Doesn’t being a woman mean so much more than just the outside – or, rather, the artificiality that our society tries to create? In a world where girls are raised to cut down other women, to take pride in that “they’re not like that,” I think it’s important that we women stick together. And, no, I don’t mean in the radical feminist get-rid-of-all-the-men way. I mean in the way of being decent human beings and helping one another.
HOWEVER, another thought has occurred to me, and this is that this kind of thinking does not take place only among women, or only in secular society. It seems, sadly, to be a very human thing to do to take pride in our own “accomplishments” and see ourselves as better than everyone else. I am particularly thinking of the ultra-traditionalist-religious people of our day who take pride in being “not like all those sinners” – which, of course, means that they completely ignore the fact that they, too, are themselves sinners. These are the reddit, 4chan, and Facebook group users (mostly boys – I won’t even call them men – since they take delight in telling women to shut up and they don’t have an opinion because “St. Paul said so”… when St. Paul definitely did not say so). They are the ones who believe that a girl who has had sex before marriage and repented should be shunned. She is damaged goods, she is a whore… as, in fact, some say, all women are. These are the same boys who live in their mother’s basement, publically proclaiming that they are “trying so hard to get over masturbating,” and complaining that they can’t find a girl because “women are all whores and will only go for alpha males – I’m a beta, boo hoo.” The fact is, these guys are never going to get a woman because of their attitudes. For instance, some of these men believe that they should “discipline” their wives by spanking them like they would their children. (That’s big talk for a guy who whines about how he can’t talk to girls at church.) The only wife you’re going to get that way is a woman with Stockholm’s Syndrome.
I would argue that the “I’m not like the others” mentality in the religious sphere is even more dangerous for it is creating a sense of unfounded self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and entitlement. These religious lads could fit in the “nice guy” stereotype, but this group’s mentalities go even deeper than that. There is a wave of Phariseeism growing under our very noses and no one cares to point it out – besides perhaps feminists and religious-bashers. As long as the boys are showing up to church on Sunday and seem on fire for Christ, it’s all good, right? While I believe that it is all big talk with some of these young men, it is frightening to think of the damage that those who are actually serious will cause. Vice did an interesting video a while back on incels (interesting to note, all these kind of men on the groups I’m in were very quick to proclaim that it was a fake). They exposed the mental illness that even incels themselves will admit they have. However, I think with the violent rhetoric, depression, and rage these men exhibit, it is only obvious. Is it good that there a lot of incels in the Church? It’s good for their souls, we would hope, but it’s not good for the image of the Church, nor is it good for the young women in the Church who are looking for prospective husbands.
If the Church truly cares about the youth and the problems we face today (i.e. youth synod), I believe priests need to start speaking out about this problem. We live in a world where too many young women – including myself – have been hurt by men and shaken to our deepest core. Boys need to be taught to be godly, strong men – for, unlike the feminists say, it’s actually the weak, effeminate ones who hurt women. Strong men actually stand up for women.
And while we’re at it, let’s talk about things that us young women need to hear, too. Let’s start with learning to shatter INLOTG.