The “Not Like Other Girls Phenomenon” 

By Raven Carthon 

In movies marketed to teenagers, the “not like other girls” phenomenon presents itself in some of the most classic movies. For instance, the popular movie 10 Things I Hate About You features young Julia Stiles portraying Kat Stratford, a senior in high school who goes against the ideals of the school’s social hierarchy. Wearing combat boots and listening to punk music, Kat demonstrates her disdain for the “girly” things her counterparts enjoy. While the movie portrays her character in an idealistic light, her behavior can be interpreted as unlikeable and pretentious. 

Often, high school students deem parties as a normality amongst themselves. Viewing 10 Things I Hate About You holds a sense of relatability in that teenagers watching can relate to the foolish antics upheld by the characters. While in contrast, the contemptful Kat remarks that parties are “just a lame excuse for all the idiots at our school to drink beer and rub up against each other in hopes of distracting themselves from the pathetic emptiness of their meaningless consumer driven lives.” In stating this, Kat loses the relatability needed in order to view her as a likable character. The writers of the movie, Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith, attempt to make Kat appear as though she is above the mediocrity of high school, and wise beyond her years by making her appear as though she is “not like other girls.” While this makes her have a sense of mystery, it only serves as a device to make her appear as a pompous and overexaggerated version of the person most high schoolers wish they could be. 

Continually, Patrick Verona, portrayed by the handsome Heath Ledger, presents himself as a charming character attempting to gain the favor of Kat. In placing such a charming character alongside Kat this amplifies Kat’s obnoxious behavior. In the movie, Patrick attempts to ask Kat to the prom after taking her on a day though the town. When asked, Kat replies with a curt no, stating that “it’s a stupid tradition.” Again displaying her disdain for trends, specifically because others enjoy it. While most teenagers idolize the idea of prom, Kat spits on the very idea of it. Concluding that the “not like other girls” phenomenon only stands to portray Kat as an unlikeable character.