Confession From the Girl Who Didn’t Like Girls & Why I Decided To Change My Mindset

By Chelsea Ranard

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had sister-like relationships with my closest girlfriends. Many of them are still close to me, and I continue to make lifelong friendships with women. However, as an adolescent, I had a very different view of my female peers despite having female friends. I’d say things like, “I just don’t get along with girls”. I’d agree that “girls are drama” and that my guy friends were much more my speed. My guy friends would agree that I “wasn’t like other girls”.

What I first perceived as a dislike for girls was my adolescent brain trying to articulate that I didn’t relate to them as well. I thought I was supposed to be pretty and girly, but I wasn’t, so the girls who were felt threatening. As I got older, these immature judgements on my female peers began to slip away. I began to realize where these views came from. I became educated on women’s issues and saw more female representation around me. I realized how important feminism was to me and to the world as a whole. Soon, the girl who didn’t like other girls became a woman who cheered for the women around her to succeed. However, that process took some time and continues to evolve.

Haley Kennedy Studio

Where Girl Hating Comes From
Clearly I didn’t have a problem with all girls because many of my best friends were girls, so where did I get the idea that girls were not to be liked? Unfortunately, much of the mean girl attitudes that are prominent through adolescence are taught to us through societal norms. It stems from an innate competition we perceive. We might feel the need to be prettier, more liked, smarter, better, etc. We are taught that other girls threaten our standing to be most liked by boys or the one getting the most attention. I thought since girls were supposed to like girly things, and I didn’t like those things, I was different. The girls who fit that mold were a threat.

Girl hating isn’t harmless. It can lead to bullying that can cause mental health problems like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, etc. School counselors spend a lot of time addressing bullying in order to protect students from the long-term effects of it. My experience with girl hating wasn’t that extreme, but in time I started to analyze why I had negative thoughts about other women and how I could change those judgements. Once I realized how society had a role in how I viewed other women, I tried hard to change what I had been inadvertently taught.

The Importance of Education
Late in high school, the idea of girl-hating became less appealing. I knew my blanket judgement was immature and thought it made me look insecure. As I entered college, I began to learn more about women’s issues and feminism — something I had once said I hated (cringe). Honestly, I didn’t understand it and foolishly believed the stereotypes surrounding feminism.

Through education, I began to realize how important it was to support other women and come together in the struggles and the celebrations we had in common. Through paying attention to the social issues that were addressed on my college campus, I took part in more discussions and became more aware of the different perspectives around me.

As I received more education about women’s issues, I also realized how important it was for education to be available for women in general. I knew firsthand about how it felt not to identify with girls and stereotypically girly things. I understood how that had a hand in my status as a girl who hated other girls. I learned more about the gender gap in terms of women in STEM, women in leadership roles, and basically any woman in a male-dominated sector. This information was so important in helping me understand women and how harmful gender stereotypes can be.

Carly Martin | Clementine Studio

The Rise of Female Representation
The changing mindset about women, female empowerment, and girl hating is everywhere. When I was a little girl, there weren’t any girls like me that I could identify with and look up to. I was a tomboy who was raised by a single dad and identified with the boys in television shows, movies, and books — not the girls.

Now, female representation is everywhere. This is so important for the changing mindset about mean girls and rise of feminism among girls of all ages. Girls can look up to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and their celebration of women and success in a male-heavy field. They can admire athletes like Serena Williams or Simone Biles. They can identify with figures in popular literature like Wonder Woman or Hermione Granger.

Female representation isn’t just about the celebrities, pop culture icons, or representation in the media. The rise in representation in other fields is just as important and helps young women to identify with and celebrate women the way little boys do with their superheroes. The growing presence of women in engineering, politics, automotive industries, etc. are all important for female representation as well.


What Feminism Means to Me
I went from being a girl hater to being a feminist. I used to feel really guilty about that. Now I understand that it’s a journey for many other women as well. We go from thinking that being a girl is “less than” to celebrating what it means to be a woman. My journey started out as wishing I was girlier, envying those who were, and identifying more with the boys. Then I looked down on the girly girls who represented what I wasn’t and felt lucky that I didn’t care about my shoes or the color pink. Then I became a woman who began learning about where these judgements came from and what they said about me.

To me, being a feminist is about learning more about women who are different than me and being someone that girls can relate to if they identify with some of my story. It means advocating for women’s rights, keeping women safe, and pushing for society to celebrate all kinds of women. It means understanding that women can like makeup, cars, princesses, action movies, or anything else they want to like. It’s about seeing another woman succeed and celebrating her instead of tearing her down. It’s about setting my own standards instead of meeting the ones society has set for me.

I’m not perfect, and I still have my weak, insecure moments where I catch myself tearing another woman down in order to lift myself higher. Though those weak moments are usually confined to my own inner monologue and are never spoken out loud, they are still there sometimes. The difference is that now I can identify them, determine their cause, and stop them in their tracks. My evolution is still a process as I learn more about women’s issues, intersectional feminism, and gender norms, but at least the process has started. This changing mindset in our culture is so important in how women view not only themselves but also each other.

Being a girl is something that should be celebrated, not questioned. With more understanding, education, and representation, the hope is that more young girls will realize this sooner rather than later.

Libby VanderPloeg

Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She is passionate about feminism, is a shark enthusiast, and can be found playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow her on Twitter.

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