#Likeagirl Looks to Dispel Stereotypes

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If you catch like a girl, fight like a girl, or even cry like a girl, it is generally thought to be a significant insult.  Always, the company behind the popular feminine hygiene products, is looking to make #likeagirl a top trend and dispel a few stereotypes along the way.

The company’s #likeagirl campaign is currently making the rounds on social media, and the disparity between what older adults and the preteens they used to be is startling.  The older ones who were asked to do a variety of tasks “like a girl” generally demonstrated poor form, temper tantrums and behaviors that would seem to be stereotypically feminine.  Young girls, when asked to do the exact same tasks, demonstrated skill, tenacity, and enthusiasm, leading to the question about when doing something “like a girl” became such an insult.

I have two young girls, and they are five and nine and a half.  At their young ages, they have already been introduced to the hard realities of how society has been socialized.  Things such as martial arts, Star Wars and other forms of science fiction, or even roughhousing are the exclusive rights of boys; girls should not be interested in these things.  Girls should not be good at sports, unless those sports are dance-related.  These are the sorts of beliefs my girls have come across over the last couple of years, and while the oldest girl continues to define for herself what doing things like a girl means for her, the five year old does not quite understand why her sister gets teased for liking the things she does.

My oldest daughter is very much a fan of ball sports, particularly soccer, and recently went through a 14-hour test where she acquired her first degree black belt.  For her, #likeagirl is about doing things on her terms, as it is for my youngest.  In many respects, my youngest daughter is very much like her big sister – headstrong and usually willing to stand up for what she believes or do things in her own way.  She loves to run and climb and get dirty.  The only difference, apart from the age, is that for her, doing things “like a girl” generally means that makeup must be involved.  Otherwise, she is good to go.

The #likeagirl campaign points its focus squarely on the stereotypes that both genders put on women.  It points out that we have all believed in the stereotypes that girls must do things a certain way because they are girls, but the campaign also adds that incredibly important question:  why can’t doing things “like a girl” also mean winning the race?  Just ask Kyra Gracie of the legendary Gracie family, or race car driver Danica Patrick.  These two women are among a host of amazingly talented women who have completely redefined what it means to do things like a girl, and it is exciting.

My oldest daughter was riveted to the computer when I showed her the Always #likeagirl campaign video that has been making the rounds and is featured below.  When it was done, she looked me squarely in the face and told me she agreed that doing things like a girl should mean winning the race or doing whatever you wanted.  I certainly hope the company will be successful with the #likeagirl campaign and see the self-confidence of girls entering puberty begin to climb.

Opinion by Christina St-Jean