The phrase “like a girl” has long been used in society as a veiled insult, a way to tease young boys or men; it’s a throwaway comment which people use without really thinking about it. You throw “like a girl”, you run “like a girl”, you hit “like a girl” which inherently implies women are weaker and anything that’s done “like a girl” is wrong.
This saying totally disempowers women, especially young women, and it also helps to shape young men who grow up thinking its wrong to do anything like a girl.
The problem is people haven’t realised the damage being done when they utter those three little words. Not all who say it are male; women and girls also use the phrase in a derogatory manor. Young girls internalise the conversations being had in the playgrounds and the phrases and words they keep hearing over and over again. They start to listen and believe the disempowering expectations coming from the saying and may start to act in a certain way.
A lack of confidence in young women can obviously not just be blamed on one phrase, but it certainly doesn’t help.
For too long the words “like a girl” have been used as an insult and was an accepted part of our culture. In May, Lauren Greenfield was asked by Always, the feminine hygiene brand owned by Procter & Gamble to direct a short ‘social experiment’ about #LikeAGirl. I don’t think anyone at the time would realise what a powerful campaign this would turn out to be.
The video can be watched here.
I found the video to be very powerful and I hope it will make other people think before they use the phrase “like a girl” in a negative way again. My hope is it will take on a new powerful meaning and create a powerful message for young women and boys, that’s it is ok to throw “like a girl”, to run “like a girl”, to swim “like a girl”, to lift “like a girl”.
To do anything “like a girl” is not a bad thing. This video is being used as the starting point to reclaim those words and to use them in positive and empowering way. To do anything like a girl is awesome and should be seen that way!
A Dutch Olympian tweeted: “I swim #LikeAGirl and have a gold medal to prove it.” And a second: “I do theoretical atomic and molecular physics #LikeAGirl.”
The video has now been seen over 30 million times and the hashtag has spread over all aspects of social media. The video has made people aware of what the negative connotations of using the phrase can be.
The tide has been turned and now the saying “like a girl” is being seen as empowering one and women and girls throughout the world have reclaimed the words.