I think I was about 12 or 13 the first time I remember someone told me I did something “like a girl.” I was probably at a sports event of some sort. I don’t remember it specifically, but I remember the feeling that I had after I heard it, and every time I’ve heard it since: that I wasn’t good enough and I should not be out there doing what I was trying to do.
Recently, Always launched a commercial and a campaign to try to change what this means. They created a commercial where they asked women to do an action – run, throw, fight – like a girl. Grown women flailed about as if they couldn’t do the action. Then they asked some young girls to do those same actions and used the same words, “like a girl.” The young girls performed those actions to the best of their abilities. This inspired me. Since when do we have to let something affect us and be negative? What words are we choosing to use that we could change and use to inspire confidence and build a new generation of women who are fearless and don’t have to have that “not good enough” feeling?
I’ve been following this campaign closely since I first heard about it a few months ago. I’ve mentioned it when I’ve been in a position to work with a large group of women in technology, and I’ve challenged myself to think about the words that I say and how I say them so that I don’t tear down, but encourage and build up. Time magazine has said it completely redefines the phrase. I think that’s awesome. We can redefine what’s been the norm in our culture!
Fama Francisco, vice president of Global Always, in an article on CNN stated, “We can change the meaning of words. That's what we are taking a stand on, and our message, which we hope will inspire girls, women, boys, is that we can make the everyday 'like a girl' to mean amazing things.” I agree with her; we can change how we view these words by how we use them.
The original commercial has spawned a Twitter campaign for #LikeAGirl and women everywhere are sharing the things that they do best. I hope this has inspired others as much as it has inspired me. I don’t want to limit myself or give up on hopes and dreams because maybe I can’t do it like someone else. I don’t have to. I can do it like me. I can do it like a girl, and guess what, other girls can, too! I have made it a personal goal to change that thought in my head when I hear “like a girl” to something positive. And to look for other things that I can do as well. Words that I can say to encourage and to build up others.
There are several versions of the commercial that have been created. It was shown during the Super Bowl this year, reaching millions of people, telling them that “like a girl” is not a bad thing. We should go out and do what we do, and do it how we do it best and be proud of it. Always has posted a series of these videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRyQfUYbMgkeMaN_yICROVBYTK0jU237U. To date, the initial commercial has been viewed over 56 million times just on YouTube!
Let’s go out and do what we do #LikeAGirl!