1) What does it mean to do something ‘like a girl’?
2) When did doing something “like a girl” become an insult?
Two groups of people were asked to do different things “like a girl”, including run, fight, and throw. The first group included a few women, a man, and a boy. All of them, when asked to perform those actions, flailed around and spouted words like, “my hair, Oh God!” The second group was composed only of young girls. Unlike the first group, the second ran in place as hard as possible, and threw imaginary balls and imaginary punches with gusto. One of these young girls said running like a girl means running as fast as you can. Why did these two groups have such different reactions to the same questions?
Age, primarily. The ladies in the first group were older and had already been through puberty. Self-esteem among children, particularly girls, when they reach puberty plummets. Saying anything is being done #LikeAGirl, “really puts [girls] down, because during that time they’re already trying to figure themselves out,” as one of the young women from the first group said. She continued, “Well, what does that mean? Cause they think they’re a strong person. It’s kind of like telling them that they’re weak, and they’re not as good as them.”
When asked if the women in the first group wanted to re-try running, fighting, and throwing, they all took a page from the second group’s book and ran, fought, and threw as hard as they could. One of them asked, “why can’t ‘run like a girl’ also mean win the race?”
We have talked about body image in our Rethinking Beauty: Women, Power & Influence Salon and on this blog in our recent post onm aerie’s Real campaign. The campaign vows not to retouch any of the images in their advertisements. Similar initiatives are popping up from companies across the country, with Dove having been one of the first. Do you think companies like Always and aerie are promoting positive body image? Have you heard of doing something “like a boy,” or do you know of similar campaigns aimed at boys? Is positive body image the only issue being addressed in these advertisements?