I am not sure when I heard it for the first time. “You’re not like other girls.” It was probably a guy trying to pay the biggest compliment there is. I was not just different; I was a step ahead, a step away from the other women – friends, neighbours, sisters. I was better than them and for me, the initial step was to obviously try to lap it up as praise. But there was something inherently problematic about an accolade whose only credibility stemmed from pitting me against other women.

New York and Mumbai-based illustrator Tara Anand and illustrator Ellie Lee have started a project on Instagram called I Am Like Other Girls which wants to assert the simple fact that it is impossible to generalize an entire gender. They are striving to redefine what it actually means to be like other girls.

“I like video games and I am like other girls” – Lily Dandrow, 18, Boston Art by @ldandrowart

A post shared by I Am Like Other Girls (@iamlikeothergirls) on

Tara says, “This project came about from a conversation about how both of us had noticed girls and women around us who bragged about not being able to make female friends or ‘not being like other girls’. This is a trend we saw in our peers and in ourselves when we were younger – the need to compete with other girls and deem the rest of the females around us (and ultimately the rest of the world) petty, shameless, or dramatic.”

The duo found themselves angry and upset at the lack of a culture of female solidarity in their lives and they were inspired to create something that might spark the formation of a culture like this.

The duo found themselves angry and upset at the lack of a culture of female solidarity in their lives and they were inspired to create something that might spark the formation of a culture like this! With hundreds of likes on their posts and over a thousand followers on their Instagram handle, they were actually surprised at the fact that for so many people this idea seemed to resonate with and how many women just UNDERSTOOD and picked up the idea so quickly!

“‘I’m not like OTHER girls’ is a phrase too familiar to most young women trying to be “individual”. Too many of us try to achieve individuality by distancing ourselves from our gender, but who decides what girls are like? And who decides that they’re all the same? With 3430000000 women on the planet from 195 countries, thousands of religions, complexions, cultures, and with incredibly diverse interests, professions, talents and personalities – it is impossible to generalise an entire gender,” she adds.

This project invites from the Instagram community and hopes to disassemble the negativity associated with

“I like math and I am like other girls” – Anshika Bajpai, 18, Mumbai Art by @taraanandart

A post shared by I Am Like Other Girls (@iamlikeothergirls) on

femininity and unite women from all sorts of backgrounds, creeds and abilities, instead of having them turn against their own gender – “We thought it would be nice to get girls to tell us some of the qualities they think that make them individual and then reiterate that despite this quality, I am like other girls and I love my gender. In fact, we got multiple submissions saying the same things and that exactly proves our point!”

Also Read: ‘Women Need To Challenge and Disrupt Norms’, Says Vidya Shah

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