I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases ‘You throw like a girl.’ ‘You hit like a girl.’ or ‘You cry like a girl.’ As “a girl”, I’m pretty damn proud of the way I do things. You may have seen the campaign that Always recently ran on this very topic.
Please take a minute to watch the video; it’s really quite powerful.
In the video, the adults and even a brother of a girl who were asked to act ‘like a girl’ in a given situation performed their requested task in a negative, fearful and hesitant way. However, when younger girls were asked to act “like a girl”, they put forth maximum effort and performed the actions as they normally did them.
What does all this mean? Why does “like a girl” take on negative connotations?
I imagine that all of this started when boys who weren’t as good at something as their peers compared to girls.
While it may seem silly to delve deep into an joke that was almost certainly initiated by kids who have since grown into old men, how does it impact the generations of girls who have been used as the punchline?
Many girls are able to run faster or swim better than the boys. However, if one boy isn’t as good as another, he is said to having the capabilities of “a girl” regardless of the actual talent of their girls. The question is why are we dragging an entire gender down just to insult a boy who isn’t as physically inclined as he’d like to be?
In the fitness industry, I’m seeing more and more websites, blog posts, hashtags and movements that invoke the notion of “Like A Girl” with a positive spin, which takes the idea from insulting to empowering. Women are taking ownership of this concept with regards to fitness:
Lift Like A Girl
Train Like A Girl
Get After it Like A Girl
Thankfully, perhaps due to our ability to access like-minded women through social media, we are now starting to pass on the negative and promote the positive: strong girls in mind and body, determination and pride, striving to be the best they/we can be. When you start to think about things in the Always video above, the perception, young girls believe they can do more, be better, run faster and do great things. It’s the older generation (some of my generation, which darkens a little bit of my heart) that mimics a poor correlation between what they can do and what they perceive the ‘negative’ connotation to be.
Young people are impressionable and they should be led with a mindset that they can set out to do anything they wish. Young girls (and boys too) should be taught to believe in themselves and each other, develop a personality, be able to stand up to their peers without the fear of insult, being mocked or even being bullied. I’m not talking about the pipe dream of ‘if you build it they will come’ but rather real life situations that allow them to grow and develop and become an individual.
I lift like a girl.
I run like a girl.
I train like a girl.
I eat like a girl.
I throw like a girl.
I cook like a girl.
I mow the lawn like a girl.
I hit like a girl.
I cry like a girl.
I laugh like a girl.
I garden like a girl.
I listen to music like a girl.
I shop like a girl.
I sleep like a girl.
I work like a girl.
I dream like a girl.
I believe in myself like a girl.
I win like a girl.
Encouraging young people to believe in themselves and to rise above stereotypes starts with confidence. What will you do to keep the upward-trend going, encouraging girls (and boys) to be the best they want to be while helping to squash all the negative?
Keep doing it Like A Girl!
Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you on this very important topic!