As it gets to be less and less socially acceptable to pigeonhole women as any one thing–or as a “thing” at all–Hailee Steinfeld, who, in addition to setting a Thirteen Reasons Why-esque stage with her role in The Edge of Seventeen, also made that less and less common transition from actress to actress slash musician (not to be confused with Lauryn Hill’s rapper slash actress title), serves to help tear down the final wall that has still somehow continued to support being unlike “most girls” as a compliment.
During the intro to the video for her latest single, “Most Girls”–a reused title long overdue to cleanse our mental palettes of Pink’s iteration–the usual cheesy line delivered by the guy she thinks she fancies in the brief moments leading up to his verbal faux pas accordingly has the exact opposite effect he was expecting. After he spouts, “You’re just not like most girls,” Steinfeld rebuffs any further advances with: “I gotta go.”
From this point forward, Steinfeld’s ensembles and makeup changes embody all of the Kardashian/Jenner sisters at any given moment–from her blonde Khloe look in the back of a car to her boxing braided Kendall vibe to her purple-haired Kylie in a sweatshirt persona as she paints a poster board that reads: BOY BYE (will Beyoncé sue?). And while, sure, that probably sounds masculinely derogatory, to simply write off Steinfeld’s attempt at the differentiation of the many forms the physical manifestation of a female’s personality can take in this way, it’s not intended to be. It’s simply that the Kardashians and the Jenners are what’s so ingrained in the culture of “womanhood” at the moment that even subconsciously, Steinfeld couldn’t avoid emulating them in some way or another with her declaration of empowerment. And it is an anthem of empowerment that comes on the heels of men being up in arms about something as positive and solidarity-laden as a female-only screening of Wonder Woman. So, as is evidently the case, Steinfeld setting the record straight about what will really keep a girl interested is more necessary than ever. And what most will tell you is that trying to “cater” to them by appealing to their presumed competitive nature with their own sistren ain’t gonna fly in a post-1960s world.
Because, as Steinfeld correctly breaks it down for those of you boys not in the know, “Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful/Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable.” Huh, again, I sort of have to pause to ask if Bey might consider suing (“Who Run the World? Beyoncé’s songwriters”). In any case, Steinfeld, like “most girls,” doesn’t take kindly to being separated out for not being like “her own persuasion.” When men say this, it actually usually means they’re just glad she’s “so chill,” and pretty much goes along with whatever they want without making everything a “feminist issue.”
It’s really no wonder Steinfeld happily chants, “I wanna be like, I wanna be like, most girls.” ‘Cause all of them could serve as far more entertaining sources of conversation and company than the bloke who bumbles, “Uh, you’re not like most girls.” By the end of the video, Steinfeld is joined by a group of other women, the ones who make her want to be like them, as they wear denim shorts or jeans with white t-shirts that each provide a different adjective that can be attributed to any given woman at any given moment: “Relentless,” “Unstoppable,” “Powerful,” “Focused.” And when they all come together to show their strength with this endless barrage of descriptions, well, it’s likely “most boys” will bite their tongue before letting out that old cliche they used to think would get a dame’s panties wet.