Arya: Most girls are idiots.
On the surface, it's nice to hear someone say you're special. It's flattering to the ego to hear that you're better than the competition. That might be why this line is almost only found in young adult and teen stories. Writers may not expect teens to take subtext or larger social implications into consideration.
However it's meant, this line can be interpreted as a backhanded compliment or even outright Condescending Compassion. By saying that your intelligence, sense of humor, chastity, lack of interest in makeup, independence, or whatever make you "different from other guys/girls," it's implied that your gender is inferior by default (compare You Are a Credit to Your Race).
A more tactful person may ease the blow to feminism by saying she's different from other girls he knows or the kind of girls he usually dates. The inverse of this works as well.
This line is also commonly used with girls with superpowers or some other kind of secret for the irony factor. May also be a Catchphrase of the woman who is Really 700 Years Old but looks like a teenager/supermodel or the Green Space Babe. In these cases, the implications are less unfortunate because it is literally true and not because they are unfeminine but because they have unexpected abilities.
Context is important for whether or not the Unfortunate Implications are present though. When invoked in An Immigrant's Tale, it generally isn't a problem: since the implication isn't that femininity is bad but rather that the speaker's home culture's idea of proper femininity is bad. Usually because said culture doesn't believe in educating women, or teaches girls not to talk much, or the like. The same can apply to stories involving Time Travel. Indeed, Unfortunate Implications can (though do not necessarily) result when this trope isn't used in such stories.
Can also be appropriate when there's a sufficiently large age gap between the girl and the speaker, because then it's not a comment on femininity but rather on the lack of maturity of the speaker's peers: this variant is most commonly invoked by other women (though it can be used by a man).
Sometimes, this term is used verbatim as a pejorative towards gender-nonconforming women by overbearing and reactionary female authority figures, female bullies, and, in more modern works, Straw Feminists. The idea is that if a woman is not stereotypically feminine, she is "like a man" and thus, free game for ostracism and bullying from her peers until she starts acting "normal" (read: feminine). This variation of the trope can sometimes go Up to Eleven and the offending parties can suggest a woman is "not like other girls" because of her race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability - meaning they only consider women of their group to be "normal". In the case of the Straw Feminist variant, they believe that if a woman has stereotypically masculine interests or behaviours, or has more male friends than female ones, it must clearly be because she's a Category Traitor who hates her own gender and wants male approval.
On the other hand, using it in a derisive fashion can be valid; if a woman (particularly a Ladette or Nerdy Bully) is using her apathy or disregard for "traditional" femininity as a reason to denigrate other women and/or as a justification for their own internalized misogyny (e.g. "I'm not some dumb Stepford bitch who only cares about taking selfies and keeping up with the Kardashians"), "we get it, you're not like the other girls" is a valid response.
Often said by the Ladykiller in Love, or by a Bigot with a Crush if the bigotry in question happens to be misogyny. Compare and contrast I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me. Related but distinct tropes include Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, MadonnaWhore Complex, Makeup Is Evil, Beauty Is Bad, and Slut-Shaming. A Female Misogynist may describe herself this way—though she's not the only type of character to do so, as women and girls can feel alienated from the rest of their gender for various non-sexist reasons. This trope is one of the most Common Mary Sue Traits, although a character described this way (or who describes herself this way) is not necessarily a Mary Sue. Versions of this can be said by female characters about male characters, and this version can also (though does not necessarily) carry Unfortunate Implications as well. Basically, just be very careful with this one.
- Kodachi meets Ranma for the first time in Ranma ½ and remarks, "You're no ordinary girl."
- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Played with. In the original timeline, Gerard met Maria when she was climbing a tree, which led to him striking up a conversation, finding out more about her, and falling in love. Eventually, this relationship led to the death of the spoiled noble Katarina, who Gerard grew up with. However, in the altered timeline, Katarina remembers her previous life as an average Japanese girl, and is... quirky. Among other things, she climbs trees all the time, so when Gerard meets Maria, he doesn't think much of her doing the same thing.
- Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs: The Rival Marie, as part of her seduction of the dateable cast of the Otome Game she transmigrated into, hijacked an encounter where the game's protagonist was supposed to slap the Crown Prince Julius. But since Marie has Super Strength, due to her Had to Be Sharp childhood, her slap knocks Julius down onto his knees, and left his legs shivering too much for him to walk, so she had to carry him back inside. Julius says this to her while she does so. Quite a Justified Trope.
- Firefly: The Sting: Logar compares Inara to a Companion he once knew, saying, "Not many women 'round these parts like that, the sheepdog instead of the sheep."
- Chloe Cerise in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail notes that in a world where almost everyone is into Pokémon, she, the daughter of a Professor, isn't. She's into macabre monsters — demons — writing, good with art and has a love of softball. Problem is that everyone else doesn't care for that and it has her suffer from self-worth issues since not a lot of people care to see the real her. She later learns to embrace this side of her: a sweet girl with long hair and a white dress who can fight off opponents with a donut holer and narrate horrifying tales with a calm smile on her face.
- Played painfully straight in Emergence (RWBY) where Yang Xiao Long tells Gavin Lloyd that she doesn't enjoy a lot of stereotypically feminine things and asks him if he's okay with that. He responds that he is because those traits just make her look more attractive to him, thinking that she's "All the hotness without the bitchiness."
- Bring It On subverts this with Missy, who's a Tomboy that seems to view cheerleading as beneath her (she's a gymnast who joins the squad as a last resort) because of the negative stereotypes. But she soon learns that cheerleading requires lots of work, and ends up enjoying her time on the squad.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: At the high school dance, Luke Perry's character delivers this line to Buffy. She denies it while clutching a wooden stake as they slow dance.
- The Devil Wears Prada plays this more blatantly than the book. Andy is less outwardly feminine at the start of the movie and of course getting a makeover is a sign of negative character growth - as the other employees at Runway are portrayed as vapid, catty or ditzy. That being said, nobody shows Andy any respect in the beginning of the movie because of her dated, slapdash appearance, inefficiency and thinking she's above something as "frivolous" as working for a fashion magazine. Nigel tears her a new one when she comes crying to him about how mean Miranda is to her, pointing out that Andy has a job millions of girls would kill for but pouts for not being praised just for doing what's expected of her and doesn't treat the magazine with the respect it deserves. She realizes he's right and has a makeover and begins excelling at her job - and her friends promptly decry her as a sellout.
- Dumbo (2019) introduces a female child protagonist who was not in the animated original and has a distinction drawn between her and the other circus performers. She declares she wants to be a scientist and "be known for my mind", while also defying her father's dream for her to be a performer too.
- Ella Enchanted: Prince Charmont tells Ella this, to which she responds sarcastically that he "has no idea". In Ella's case she really isn't like most girls because she's cursed to be obedient and is actively trying to rectify this before it ruins her life, though Char doesn't know this at the time and just thinks she's a bit odd.
Prince Charmont: Ella of Frell, you're not like other girls.
Ella: You have no idea.
- Invoked in The Faculty, where Stokeley pretends to be a Butch Lesbian specifically to alienate everyone. She does end up getting noticed by the apparent Jerk Jock, who turns out to be a Lovable Jock that's uninterested in his Alpha Bitch of a girlfriend (though this is less to do with femininity and more incompatibility; the girlfriend herself ends up with a nerd too, who's a better match for her). In the epilogue she's shown wearing a slightly more feminine purple cardigan as a sign that she no longer cares what people think of her.
- In The Gamers: Dorkness Rising the comment "You know, you're unlike any other woman I've ever met" is used this way from one female character to another as a form of flirtation. Seeing as how the female character saying this is played by a Man, the target character responds with "Right back at ya".
- In Operation Petticoat, the chief, who doesn't like the idea of women on boats, finally gets to see the good side of the Chief Nurse and says, "You're not like other women. You're an engineer."
- Naveen's bungled attempt to propose to Tiana in The Princess and the Frog has him attempting to show her how much she means to him by saying that, rather than being like the "thousands" of women that he's gone out with, Tiana's different because she's "one of the guys".
- King Kong (1933) doesn't even try to hide the misogyny. To be fair, it was the '30s.
Jack: I guess I love you.
Anne: Why, Jack! You hate women!
Jack: Yeah, I know. But you aren't women.
- Miss Congeniality tackles this in a good way. Gracie Hart is a tomboy and lad-ette through and through, who views all the pageant contestants as bimbos. But as she gets to know them she becomes good friends with several of them and gains a lot of respect for both the girls and herself in the process, as by the end of the movie she's still a badass FBI agent and considerably more well-groomed and refined, showing that you can be both and they are not mutually exclusive.
- Fighting with My Family does this in a similar way. Saraya is contrasted with some more conventionally attractive model-turned-wrestlers in WWE developmental and feels out of place so she alternates between trying to imitate their looks and assuming they're a Girl Posse making fun of her. She also views them as Hired for Their Looks who don't care about wrestling and are only looking for a stepping stone to fame. Then she learns that one of the girls has a daughter she's missing time with to train, and decides to use her experience to help them improve their own talents - while also staying true to her own style.
- In Molly's Game, multiple guests at her poker games profess their love for Molly. It happens so often that it becomes extremely frustrating to her. She finally breaks it down for Douglas Downey that they only like her because she is the "anti-wife": She encourages their gambling addictions, their drinking, and she has them served by beautiful women. It's not Molly that they fall in love with, it's the environment.
- In Small Soldiers part of bonding between Alan and Christie is, after finding out she likes Led Zeppelin, remarking she's not like regular girls. This gets him a smile from her. It seems there's some of this in-universe, as Christie has a massive doll collection and seems to be embarrassed about it.
- In Cinderella (2021), Ella has hints of this. She's apparently the only woman in town who openly has ambitions beyond getting married, seeking to open her own dressmaking business and wanting to attend the ball to find buyers rather than woo the prince (unlike most of the other attendees). She even gets a song titled "Million to One" that is all about her desire to stand out ("If it's a million to one, I'm gonna be that one").
- Peaceable in The Sherwood Ring proposes to Barbara (after she's tricked him into drinking sleeping drops) specifically because she's the only woman he's met who didn't act stupid in front of him. In Peaceable's defense, acting ditsy was the fashion among young women at the time. "I refuse to marry until I meet a woman as intelligent as I am—and not before." Point proven, Barbara.
- Subverted — in fact, run through with a sword, repeatedly and with prejudice — in all books of the Tortall Universe by Tamora Pierce. The books are Feminist Fantasy, but it's pointed out multiple times over the series that there are many kinds of girls in the world and that being one is nothing to be ashamed of, whether you're The Chick or an Action Girl. In Squire, Lady Alanna notes that people think of her this way so that they don't have to challenge their assumptions of women as a whole, hence why no one tried out for knighthood until Keladry came along and proved it was attainable for any girl, not just a "special" one.
- Explored and mostly subverted in A Song of Ice and Fire with characters like Cersei, Asha, Brienne, and Arya. Cersei tends to think this about herself as a misogynist, and wishes she could have been raised a warrior, not because of any fascination with a sword but because she feels that a sword would give her an easier road to respect, fear, and power. Asha has also come to these same conclusions in her society which is even more misogynistic than general Westeros, but despite playing the role of the warrior there's no real indication she actually disdains feminine activities. Brienne and Arya could both be described as tomboys, but they're similar in that doing so is partly because they have trouble adopting traditional feminine pursuits rather than actual dislike of them - Arya comes off as the Unfavorite compared to her more skilled older sister, and Brienne's homely face and rather masculine body shape means she literally cannot be accepted as feminine in Westerosi culture, and has chosen to pursue masculine pursuits because her body type makes her much more inclined that way.
- Shay says this to Calla in the YA novel Wolfsbane. Though he's a bit more specific than the norm in that he only says she's not like other girls he's dated.
- In A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis's memoir of the aftermath of his wife's death, he mentions having told her once that his relationship with her felt more like his friendships with other men than any other relationship he'd ever had with a woman. She had to point out to him that it's a bit insulting if the highest compliment you can pay to a woman is that she's almost like a man and asked what he'd think if she started praising him for his "feminine virtues." He was convinced. Also Lewis used this trope almost constantly in his books...and when he didn't the implications were even more unfortunate. Though it should be noted that this is as much a commentary on the gender norms of his time than on his individual views.
- It could be argued that the trope gets subverted in The Horse and His Boy with Aravis and Lasaraleen. While describing their friendship, the book states that Lasaraleen was always more interested in traditionally feminine things, while Aravis prefers horseback riding and adventure, and that "you can guess that each thought the other silly." When they say their goodbyes, Aravis admits that she thinks Lasaraleen has a lovely life, but it just wouldn't suit her.
- Mara Wilson in her autobiography deconstructs this trope in one chapter - detailing her experiences in the politics of high school show choir. She was initially part of a clique that was jealous of their more talented peers, but thought they were better because they weren't like "othergirls" (yes, one word). Naturally, the clique imploded with a lot of bitchy backstabbing, and Mara notes that real-life Alpha Bitches come in many varieties, and in their view everyone is 'othergirls'.
"Anyone can play the game, but the only way to win is to not play at all."
- This trope pops up a lot in The Hunger Games trilogy when it comes to Katniss. For instance, Katniss is depicted as her family's breadwinner because her female relatives are pretty much useless - her father was the one who taught her how to hunt, but her mother is too overcome with crippling depression to provide for her daughters and her younger sister is so meek and innocent she can't bear killing animals and there are no other female hunters mentioned besides Katniss, who typically fails at anything remotely "feminine". An example of this is in Catching Fire, where she claims to have become good friends with Madge, the Mayor's daughter, because unlike other girls they don't sit around talking about boys or clothes, even though Katniss was previously gushing over the new gear Cinna made for her and angsting about how both Peeta and Gale are in love with her. In fact, Katniss develops a particular dislike for Johanna Mason when she's introduced because Johanna is a tough, no-nonsense Action Girl that Katniss claims to be and reacts with hostility when another girl arrives who challenges her position and is in fact a far better fighter than she is.
- Implied about Anastasia in Fifty Shades of Grey when Christian tells her that she is the first submissive partner he's ever had that has unintentionally encouraged him to go on dates, share a helicopter ride, have sex with outside his sex dungeon, and even change a flavour of ice cream.
- In The Lie Tree Faith is initially hostile and dismissive towards other women, particularly her mother, Myrtle. Her attitude changes after she gains some understanding of the pressures they face and how hard it is to defy societal expectations.
- Game of Thrones:
Tywin: Aren't most girls interested in the pretty maidens from the songs? Jonquil, flowers in her hair?
- Arya behaves like this in the early seasons, though fortunately, she does start to grow out of it as she gets older.
Arya: Most girls are idiots.
- Pops up a bit with Talisa as well, as when she is explaining why she left Volantis to become a field nurse, she tells him that a slave saved her brother's life even though he would be put to death for doing so, which inspired her to go do something with her life, not like "all the other highborn maidens who only cared about dancing at balls". A good refutation of her argument and how it's both anachronistic and misunderstanding of their society can be found here.
- October Road episode "How to Kiss Hello":
Eddie Latekka: You know what? You're not like the other girls I usually date. You're smart and funny and beautiful inside and out.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series pilot, "The Cage", Captain Pike says this about Number One.
Number One: She's replacing your former yeoman, sir.
Pike: She does a good job, all right. It's just that I can't get used to having a woman on the bridge. No offense, Lieutenant. You're different, of course.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer - in the very early "Witch" episode, Buffy, all loopy under a spell, is acting affectionate toward Xander, to Willow's dismay. When she says "You're not like other boys at all." Xander smiles modestly; when she adds "You are like, completely, totally one of the girls! I'm that comfy with him!" his expression drops, and Willow smiles (he had said the same thing to her earlier).
- 3rd Rock from the Sun:
- The gender-flipped version made an appearance, with the secret identity twist:
August: Listen, I ran out because I was disappointed in you. I thought you were different than other guys.
Tommy: Oh, I am different. You have no idea how different I am.
- Also, with Harry:
Vicki: You know, I like you, Harry. You're — you're not like the other guys.
Harry: Ah! No, ma'am!
- And with Sally:
Michel: I never met a woman like you.
Sally: And you never will again.
- The gender-flipped version made an appearance, with the secret identity twist:
- The Crown characterizes Margaret Thatcher as having this kind of mentality, and illustrates how dangerous having such a belief system can be for a woman, especially one in a position of power. While she indeed had to be tough in order to get ahead in the cutthroat (and largely male-dominated) world of politics, she's not exactly understanding or empathetic to other women to the point of being a Female Misogynist.
- In the music video for "Thriller", Michael Jackson asks a girl to go steady with him. He then tells her the gender flip of this trope "I'm not like other boys." She responds "I know! That's why I love you!" And then Michael was a werecat.
- Hailee Steinfeld's "Most Girls" video starts with her hearing this from a guy she's apparently connecting with until he tells her the trope name, immediately turning her off: "I gotta go." Considering the rest of the video is about extolling the virtues that "most girls" have, it's clear that the guy's meaning was taken as "inferior gender" instead of making Hailee feel special.
- This is actually the Catchphrase of Nia Jax, who truly does stand out from all the other girls on the WWE roster by being absolutely massive (she was a plus-sized model before taking up wrestling) and a brutal Wrestling Monster rather than a slim, athletic performer like the rest of the female roster. It's in her theme song, too.
- Paige had this schtick early on (fittingly Fighting with My Family is a biopic of her). At the time she was signed, she was one of the few indie wrestlers among model-turned-wrestlers in developmental. So her Raven Hair, Ivory Skin was used to sell her as the 'Anti-Diva'.
- AJ Lee played this up as well on NXT, selling herself as representing all the nerds and preaching that she didn't go to her prom and preferred playing video games to going out. She later played it up when she was Divas' Champion - but this time as an arrogant heel move that alienated the entire division against her.
- During TNA's British Boot Camp, Hulk Hogan's idea of a compliment during the Blossom Twins' match was "most girls wrestle like girls, and they are really wrestling like wrestlers". Especially egregious since the previous episode that had shown the two training in OVW, and Al Snow's advice was to embrace being women in the ring and not to feel the need to wrestle "like guys with boobs".
- In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, if Anomen and a female CHARNAME have continued their relationship, he will tell her that she's nothing like any other woman he's known (mostly referring to those who shared his former social position). CHARNAME can hang a lampshade: "I think there's a compliment in there somewhere." Not only is this the less problematic version of this trope, however, it's part of a conversation where he admits that his usual approach to romance is useless to express how much he loves her.
- Mary Sue Problems has a lot of jokes about Mary Sues saying they're this. She even did one for Marty Stus. The writer for the blog has discussed the internalized misogyny behind it, the desire to be unique, and other reasons behind this trope. She also discussed why we shouldn't hold ourselves to this standard.
- The series "Stuff Your Mom Never Told You" (part of How Stuff Works) deconstructs this trope and discusses its Unfortunate Implications. Basically no girl is like other girls and other girls are not like one another.
- The infamous Creamsicle characters started out as a parody of this, with Snowflake's half of the chart talking about how much she's a thoughtful, caring, kind girl compared to the clearly biased, vapid, Dumb Blonde stereotypes she writes on Sunglasses' (then known as "Other Girls") side. Then someone decided to pair them up...
- Lindsay Ellis briefly references this in the video "Dear Stephenie Meyer", a retrospective look on the Twilight series and the vitriolic backlash the books, its fandom and its author received, chalking up a portion of the backlash that largely came from other girls and women to the fact that the books were aimed at and were popular with preteen/teenage girls, who are often considered an Acceptable Target in society. She even uses this page's quote to punctuate her point, as well as admitting she herself fell into this trap when she was younger.
"I may get some blowback for stating what is kind of the obvious to everyone of all stripes, but we, and by we, I mean our culture, we kind of hate teenage girls. We hate their music (plays One Direction's "You Don't Know You're Beautiful"), we hate their insipid backstabbing, we hate their vanity, we hate their selfie sticks, we hate their makeup, we hate their stupid books and the stupid sexy actors they made famous and their stupid sparkly vampires. And then we wonder why so many girls are eager to distance themselves from being the objects of societal contempt. (plays the Tywin-Arya scene) Hell, there's a reason why in 1999, I went hard on the nu metal while openly broadcasting my disdain for the boy bands that other lesser more womany girls voted for on TRL."
- And like most things there's a subreddit for it. With all the Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, trying too hard to be cool/quirky/edgy and/or a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and other shades of this trope you could ask for.
- Youtuber ContraPoints jokingly used this phrase in her video "Are Traps Gay?" when describing how straight men often find transgender women, such as herself, attractive.
- Sarah Z discusses and deconstructs this trope in a video with the same title - where her thoughts on the matter say that it's far from just internalized misogyny or shallow bullying, but representative of a deeper problem where society pressures girls to conform to traditionally feminine traits and both accepting or rejecting femininity can result in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.
- Bob's Burgers:
- Louise Belcher cops this attitude, but it's more an indication of her immaturity (as she's only 9 years old) rather than superiority. When she develops her first crush on Boo-Boo, a member of the titular Boy Band in the episode "Boyz4Now", she's legitimately terrified by her own feelings and feels like she's been infected. It's all Played for Laughs.
- Her brother Gene is a downplayed gender-inverted version of this. He's seen hanging with guys and doesn't hate other boys his age, but he's made a lot of comments about preferring the friendship of women and even considering himself "one of the girls".
- Danny Phantom has this:
Danny: How can I trust her (Paulina)? She's a girl, girls can't keep secrets! (Danny notices Sam looking at him crossly) Uh, except for you, you're... different.
- Played for laughs on Family Guy in a Cutaway Gag showing Joan of Arc constantly bragging about how she's different from other girls and more like a dude in an effort to impress the male soldiers, who, far from being impressed, found it so annoying that they burned her at the stake just to make her shut up.