To start off, if you haven’t already seen this video that’s been circulating the internet the last few days, give it a watch now. I promise, it’s worth the 3 and a half minutes. And then, we’ll tell you what we think it means to do things ‘like a girl.’
I’ll admit, this video made me cry. Like a person who cries. Like a girl, but only because I am, in fact, a girl. I also cook like a girl, and dance like a girl and parent my kids like a girl. And yes, I run like a girl.
I think back to my younger years, and I can definitely recall hearing that I ran like a girl. And it was decidedly NOT a compliment. I distinctly remember thinking “but I AM a girl!” And the only thing worse than telling a girl that she ran like a girl, was telling a boy that he ran like a girl. Because girls are what? Slower than boys? Weaker than boys? Less athletic than boys? Men and women are inherently different in a number of ways, but none of those differences means that one is superior and the other inferior. They just means that we have differences.
Confidence is myself as a person has been something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I still struggle with it. And that started in adolescence, as it does for many people, male and female. I see those fears and insecurities in my own children, both in different phases of adolescence. So I’m teaching my son that it’s okay for him to cry, to talk about his feelings and to understand that just because someone is not athletic, doesn’t mean they are in any way lacking (we live in a VERY sports oriented town). I’m teaching my daughter that it’s okay for her to be good at sports, to be tough when the occasion calls for it (soccer field, defense) and to love her body and herself. I’m teaching them both that what determines their worth as people is their character and that they can do anything, and be anything, that they set their minds to. And through teaching them these lessons, I’m learning to love myself, to celebrate my strengths and accept my shortcomings, and to be proud of the GIRL that I am.
Because, you know, I’m pretty freaking fantastic…for a
It took me a really long time to find the confidence in myself that I so sorely lacked growing up. Until very recently (we’re talking three years ago) I was of the mindset that I didn’t and couldn’t run… unless I was being chased. And in the event that I was being chased, well, let’s just say it probably wouldn’t end well for me.
That was because I was raised hearing it. I wasn’t athletic. I didn’t do athletic things and I didn’t tap into my athletic side. I was pretty and somewhat smart, although my friends were smarter. In high school I had a friend, Erinn who could do a ridiculous number of pull-ups, like the boys, so naturally she was a tom-boy. Rather than a STRONG girl. Erinn was also the one lapping me and nearly everyone else during the mile, for the record.
Don’t put limitations on our children. And hey, while we’re at it, don’t put limitations on yourself either.
I can and I will! And you can and you will too!
Once a week I play dodgeball with a primarily male team. And when we pick teams, guess who’s last to be picked? Me. Every single time. I’m constantly finding myself trying to prove that I’m just as good as the boys. The truth is, I can’t throw as hard as them and my reflexes aren’t as quick. But I hold my own. I can catch pretty well and I play smart. I make good decisions when it comes to timing and positioning. So yeah, I play “like a girl” and I’m just as badass as any of those boys. I think as a woman, I have to realize that I have different physical strengths than men. But different isn’t bad. In fact, it’s downright necessary.
This video moved me to tears because I have a young daughter and she is strong and mighty and I don’t ever want her to forget the confidence she has right now. I know the world is going to try to tear her down, boys and girls alike. I already see her struggling to be a girl who loves karate and rough-housing and who also loves sparkly unicorns and nail polish. She wants to be a tough badass, but she doesn’t want to lose that femininity. And why should she have to? Gender stereotypes are suffocating our society. Think of the way we’ve hindered the growth of our world by keeping half the population at bay. What are we afraid of? Turn us loose. We’ll show you what kicking ass “like a girl” looks like.
When I stumbled upon the Always commercial the other night (on Tumblr, because I’m obsessed), I watched it three times in a row. With everything that’s going on in this country right now, all of the eyes on women’s rights (or lack thereof), the message felt especially timely to me.
Part of me is so relieved that I have a little boy, because, while there are many lessons I have to teach him about things like equality and feminism and consent, he won’t have to deal with the inherent, built-in issues that come with being a girl. There are so many ways in which society tells girls and women that they are less than. How do you bring up a girl in this world to know that she is enough? Especially when many of us women still struggle with this as adults? It’s a huge task. A daunting one. Such an important one.
That’s why I love this commercial so much – it is a quick, powerful tool to show that the stigma against females is hurtful and untrue and emotionally dangerous. Little girls need to see these positive reinforcements – they need to hear it, too, and believe it. They need to know the sky is the limit. Being female doesn’t dictate what you can and can’t do (beyond a few physiological things, of course).
I was going to add pictures of us, being awesome girls, but sometimes, the words are more than enough. Tell us what you think about this video. What do the words ‘like a girl’ mean to you?