Julie Hang has always been drawing cartoons. Ever since she was a little kid. But there’s something else that Julie had dedicated a lot of her younger days to. Alienating herself from others and rationalizing to herself that it’s ok because she’s “not like the other girls.”
“I was a shy, anxious kid, and had a hard time making friends,” Julie told Bored Panda. “Instead of recognizing my anxiety and trying to overcome it, I’d thought there must be something that separated me from other girls. Reading ‘me vs. other girls’ comics online validated those negative feelings and stereotypes I had towards other girls, and made me feel like it was the ‘cool’ thing to do.”
“I became judgmental and presumptive towards my peers, categorizing other girls into stereotypes before I even got to know them,” the artist said. “I made such a point of staying away from those stereotypes that I didn’t let myself experience things that I thought ‘other girls’ were into, including ‘girly’ things like going shopping, dressing up, and getting your nails done – things that I later found I actually enjoy doing!”
However, as time went by, Julie developed not only as an artist, but as a person as well. She began to realize that bitterness doesn’t lead to anything good. “Meeting more people and getting to know them helped open up my world view, especially when I attended summer camp in high school and, later, art school.”
“It was a blank slate for everyone, which presented me the option to let go of all of those categories and those stereotypes towards “other girls” that I had held onto for so long. So I did just that. What followed could only be described as an epiphany – I had been setting myself apart from the very people I felt I belonged with the most. There was so much I had in common with ‘other girls’! I made lifelong friends from a variety of backgrounds and interests who are bright, hilarious, loving, kind – girls who are unique in their own way!”
Image credits: juliehangart
Looking back, Julie said that social isolation really affected her. “When you’re young and still trying to figure out who you are, the one thing you really want to have is individuality. There are lots of healthy ways to discover yourself, like joining a club where you can meet people with similar interests. Then there is the ‘I’m not like other girls’ theme online that communicates that you are indeed unique, but does so by putting other girls down.”
However, she successfully got rid of this dangerous mindset and has a lot going for her. Having graduated from Otis College of Art & Design with a major in Animation, Julie’s now a motion designer at Part IV, a digital marketing agency. When she’s not motion-designing, she likes to draw comics, design characters, do painting studies… pretty much anything you can see on her Instagram.
She also believes that the trend of “relatable” girl comics is slowly changing for the better. “In recent years, I’ve felt as though webcomics are headed in a more positive and inclusive direction, with deeper meanings and consideration for their readers, and I’m more than happy to be contributing to that movement,” the artist added.