Saying Goodbye to the “Not Like Other Girls” Girl, a guest post by Alexene Farol Follmuth

There’s something in economics called the fallacy of scarcity, which is the erroneous mindset that there is not enough of something to go around. It suggests that in a male-dominated field, for example, women must tear each other down in order to be one of the few who gets ahead. This is a fallacy primarily because, in most cases, there’s no inherent reason that only a few women should succeed compared to men; in a more just world, meritocracy would be gender-blind. Of course, in practice we know this isn’t true, but it still changes our behaviors, positioning us as rivals when there’s no logical reason to believe that such a rivalry would help.

That same skewed concept of scarcity permeates even our fictional narratives, especially in media designed for consumption by teenage girls. In romance, it’s the idea that there are only a few good men (arguably true) and therefore we are all competing against each other for them (definitely false). From my little crow’s nest of Great Age and Maturity, I’d like to firstly point out that this is not how relationships work. You simply do not win someone’s affection by possessing a list of qualities that other women don’t have. That’s issue number one. But add in the ol’ fallacy of scarcity—aka the idea that you are competing with other girls and therefore you must be different and better in order to “win” the object of your affections (who is, for simplicity’s sake, a boy) —and suddenly the whole thing becomes a lot more insidious.