In high school, I aspired to be a beer girl. A beer girl hung out with guys and played pong at parties—she wasn’t one for girly chatter, and perhaps looked a little intimidating. She wore baggy clothing and no makeup, yet looked stunning nonetheless. She was chill. The beer girl was the first of many types of girls who are “not like other girls"—girls who were considered "unique" and didn’t fit the mold of what most other girls were doing.
But despite what my high school self once thought, the beer girl is no longer “not like other girls,” as she is simply too common. Now, lots of girls wear T–shirts, play pong, eat pizza, and don’t like to gossip. The beer girl is now acknowledged as “just like other girls.” So why did girls who were once considered unique, indie, or quirky suddenly become the norm?
Perhaps the most known kind of girl who's "not like other girls" is the “sad indie alt girl.” Due to the trope's prominence on TikTok and other social media platforms, the sad indie alt girl is almost universally known: She listens to Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, reads Sally Rooney novels, loves Greta Gerwig movies, and takes long walks in a big coat that she thrifted. If this girl sounds at all familiar, that's because she is.
The sad indie alt girl is no longer alternative anymore, as the desire for this aesthetic has become so common that the sad girl's tastes have fully entered the mainstream. Through this, it seems that a girl who claims to be "not like other girls" is absolutely “just like other girls.”
To further prove the ubiquity of wanting to be "different," videos have been circulating on TikTok about how the sad indie alt girl is no longer unique, with women jokingly calling themselves out for once thinking that they were not like other girls. "I like to think I’m unique and quirky but I’m really not," wrote one user on her video, which featured pictures of stacks of old books, Little Women movie scenes, and references to Harry Potter. "I’m actually exactly like other girls." So where does the line between "unique" and "basic" lie?
In part, the transition from women being considered “not like other girls” to “just like other girls” is due to social media, where videos, images, and messages circulate to millions instantly. A unique taste in style or music can't stay unique for long when it goes viral, encouraging others to shop at the same stores or listen to the same song. But this quick trend cycle that determines what's "basic" and what's "indie" seems to simply commodify female interests.
Not only does the "not like other girls" trope pit women against each other, it also determines what interests are considered "cool" or "quirky." In order to avoid being called basic, many women often adhere to archetypes such as the sad indie alt girl in order for others to see their interests as valid or genuine. Yet at the same time, girls who "aren't like other girls" or who don't have traditionally feminine hobbies are accused of being "fake." It seems that either way, women can't win—so why does it matter if a song, outfit, or hobby is considered basic?
As a protest against these societal standards, women across the internet are now starting to embrace what makes them “just like other girls” in a new TikTok trend. “I am exactly like other girls,” wrote one user in a video. “My favorite color is green. I love thrifting. Sushi is my favorite food. I love partying. I love my white Air Forces and [Lululemon] leggings. Wanna go to Target? Sign me up.”
“I love being like other girls,” a user commented on another video made by a woman to highlight her similarities to others. Set to a Taylor Swift song, she danced around in her room, showing off vine decorations hanging from the ceiling and walls covered with posters. She had on a black dress and flannel, with some edgy makeup and chunky jewelry—a look that, while still considered “alt,” is seen everywhere. “I’m exactly like other girls,” she wrote.
Women all over TikTok are realizing that there's nothing wrong with being just like other women, and, in fact, it can be celebrated. “I used to have an individuality complex,” wrote another user in the comments section. “And then I realized [that] girls are hot and cool and it’s a compliment to be just like them.” Another user chimed in: “And I’m proud of it! I love the solidarity.”
The interests or hobbies that women have are questioned and ridiculed by the public no matter how traditionally feminine they are—so why bother pandering to these impossible societal standards in the first place? While trying to come across as unique and “not like other girls” can end up leading to competition and othering people who don't fit into the "indie" mold, the “just like other girls” trend is a moment of solidarity and support for those who identify with the female experience.