Challenging What It Means to Be ‘Like a Girl’

like-a-girl

Let’s forget for a second that this is an ad. The subjects in this video are asked by a woman off camera to “act like a girl” doing various things like running, throwing and fighting. Their response is probably not that unfamiliar to you or I; we’ve been taught all our lives that doing something “like a girl” means to do it with weakness, to be clumsy and to lack finesse and any real skill. This especially when it comes to “boy” things like sports or physical activities. Even the females in the video respond this way.

The spot, which, of course, is an ad (for Always) directed by Lauren Greenfield (“The Queen of Versailles”), eventually has a more positive take away message. “Like a girl” doesn’t, and shouldn’t, mean inferior. It’s a smart and topical campaign in line with the latest move to be more body positive in advertising, but it does a better job than Dove or Pantene trying to get into our heads and trigger psychological responses, it takes a social construct, a common phrase we use jokingly, and hardly even recognize when we do, and point out that, yes, this is more than a little f*cked up and may actually be harmful to the overall male/female perspective when we’re pushing so hard for equality.

This also ought to shed light on the pressure men face when they’re asked to “man up” or “fight like a man.” The barn door of gender bullshit expectations swings both ways.

Well done, Always. Now stop using gross, toxic chemicals and synthetic materials in your products and we’ll be more likely to buy your brand when we have our periods, like a girl.

ICYMI Here’s another thought-provoking, social behavior-conscious ad, from Verizon of all places, we featured in last week’s Select Cuts newsletter. Verizon is working with MAKERS to encourage more girls to get involved in high-tech STEM fields.

Side note: Did all of this remind anyone else of the oft-overlooked 2001 Madonna song “What It Feels Like For A Girl,” or is it just me?

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