Empower yourself #LikeAGirl

Every year people gather in the living rooms of their family members to watch the Super Bowl. Although not everyone enjoys American football, most people can enjoy the ridiculously funny commercials that play during the breaks. This year the commercials were notably more serious than they have been in the past few years. One of the more serious commercials stood out specifically to me, as well as many other people. It touched on a sensitive subject, which normally ignored on an everyday basis. The ad, released by Always Feminine Products, points out how the saying “you hit/throw/run like a girl” is a derogatory statement towards women, particularly young girls.

In the ad, people of different age groups and genders are asked to perform common tasks such as running and throwing “like a girl.” Almost everyone who participated, including the girls, immediately begin to act out some of the nasty stereotypes given to women. They flapped their arms around in a ridiculous manner and worried about their appearance out loud, so to come off as self-absorbed. The general idea of doing something “like a girl” meant doing it the incorrect way or doing it poorly. It almost seemed like mocking women was natural to them; it was some kind of general joke that everyone was in on.

The commercial almost seemed as if it was meant to poke fun at women until the second group of participants were introduced. The second group of people that were asked to do the same thing differed from the first: they were young girls. When the younger girls were asked to perform “like a girl,” they ran quickly, displayed impressive karate kicks/chops and carried themselves with pride. They had confidence in their abilities, and didn’t give in to the harsh stereotypes that are essentially given to them at birth.

One girl was asked “What does it mean to run like a girl?”

“Run as fast as you can,” was her quick reply.

This shows us that women are not born weaker or insecure, but are taught to believe that they are by media, societal traditions and even their own family. Younger girls display a definite self-assuredness in themselves due to their innocent ignorance pertaining to toxic female stereotypes; however, around the time they start going through puberty, the jokes and false opinions begin to affect their levels of self-confidence. Using “like a girl” as a derogatory term is detrimental to the mental health of women, while also convincing boys that women are inferior.

The “#LikeAGirl” ad seemed successful at first; more and more girls began to embrace themselves, expressing their self-love and confidence through social media and projects. Many women have been tweeting positive messages to other women on Twitter, always using the tag #LikeAGirl.

Although the commercial led to some positive changes, it also caused some online controversy. Men, particularly men online, are not afraid to share their opinions on women. It seems like the most recent male hobby is harassing feminists online; arguing that men are indeed superior and that feminism is a joke. Some men have even adopted the term ‘Meninist,’ which is (supposedly) the male version of a feminist. Meninists typically complain about how women have an easier life, and claim that women should treat them with more respect. They feel like women should be opening doors for them and paying for their food, rather than the other way around. It’s hard to be sure if half of the things meninists say are jokes or not, but either way they are being rude and inconsiderate to people who want to truly promote equality.

As you can imagine, the Meninists were irate over the “#LikeAGirl” campaign. They claimed that the commercial did not truly promote equality of the genders, because it had nothing to offer to boys. The #LikeABoy tag was their response to the ad. It almost seems that powerful women frighten men even more than the thought of losing their precious masculinity. For some of them, the entire ordeal is a simple joke. However, the last thing the campaign should be is a laughing matter.

There is a specific moment in the ad that gives us a good idea of what really goes on -or maybe what doesn’t go on- in the heads of ‘meninists.’ When a middle school age boy is asked about his harsh depiction of women, he claims that he was “making fun of girls, but not making fun of his sister.” People try their hardest to not make things personal in situations like that; however, in order to make people fully understand how things truly are, we have to make it personal. Think of your mother or maybe your sisters or your aunts. Remember that when you are putting down women with your jokes and stereotypes, you are putting them down too.

The “#LikeAGirl” ad was definitely one that should be remembered. It got people’s attention, and made them think about matters that they typically ignore. The ad may have riled up some of its viewers and caused some what of a controversy, but it also inspired countless women to embrace themselves and lift up other women. The ad’s purpose was to help inspire a change; to move us further along the way to a more egalitarian society. If anyone ever tells you that you hit like a girl or throw like a girl, keep doing what you’re doing, because it’s working.

“Why can’t run like a girl also mean win the race?”