I will admit that in my naive youth I may have used this phrase. I wanted the world to know that my character was different, that she wasn’t a cookie cutter version of girls the world over. Oh, what a fool I was!
This is a phrase that I would like to see die completely in 2020. A horrible, painful, drawn-out death that we all slow-clap to as we eat popcorn and chat about the child in The Mandalorian. If you don’t know why at this point, let me spell it out for you.
Your girl is just like every other girl.
She is female, so I will go ahead and assume she either identifies as one or has the female parts. Either way, she is a girl. Congratulations, there are a ton of those on this planet. She probably eats and drinks. Washes her body and brushes her hair and teeth. She wears clothes and shoes. In these simple ways, she is like every other girl on the planet.
She may or may not paint her nails and wear makeup. She may or may not play with dolls and wear pinks and purples. She may or may not play with action figures and climb trees. She may or may not get filthy and wrestle. Her hair could be short or long. She could have tattoos or piercings or none at all. Again, none of these things make your female character unique. Even girls who wear “men’s” clothes or cuss like sailors are a dime a dozen.
Your girl is not like every other girl.
Instead of focusing on how she is a rebel or showing us some kind of combination of cute and badass (Like a Barbie doll toting assassin), you should be showing us how she is unique in the ways that really matter. Her personality, inner thoughts, feelings, and the way she treats those around her are what really make your character different from others. And since there are no two people in the world who are exactly alike in every way, even twins, it should be pretty easy to create multiple female characters who are not cookie-cutter versions of anything.
Every girl is unique. No one is like everyone else. Your job as a writer isn’t to tell us that in some silly way that has every female reading it rolling their eyes. (“Oh yes, she is a computer nerd but also sexy. So special.” *groan*) We just want real characters, male or female, who show us their individually through thoughts and actions.