I’m pretty sure everyone (or at least anyone who has attended an American grade school) has at some point in his/her life heard the phrase “like a girl”. The phrase genders an action (throwing, running, acting, fighting) to being the way a girl does it.
So why is this intended as an insult?
In our society, to say you “fight like a girl” is to say you are wimpy and not as tough as the boys. If you “act like a girl” you’re probably acting weak, or even whiney.
In an ad campaign by Always, they asked teenage girls (along with a boy and a man) to run, fight, and throw “like a girl”. And how did they act? Giggly and incompetent. As if they were unable to throw without breaking their nails or run without messing up their hair. Honestly, if I were asked to perform an action “like a girl”, my first instinct would probably be to perform the same theatrics.
But, why is this? Why does our society teach girls that to do something “like a girl” is bad? That it is inherently less than how a boy would do the very same thing.
However, the ad continues, now asking younger girls (about 7 or 8) to throw/run/fight like girls and they proceed to throw hard, run fast, and fight fiercely. They don’t see anything wrong with acting like a girl. Society hasn’t yet taught them that “like a girl” is a deeming phrase and they shouldn’t be allowed to. “Like a girl” should be empowering to young women, not disheartening.
In an chevy ad run during game one of the World Series last week, 13 year old Mo’ne Davis is featured front and center. This past summer, she had pitched in the Little League World Series. She pitched an entire game—A no-no. No hits. No runs. No help from the bullpen. She pitched a perfect, shutout game at the highest level of little league baseball competition. As she says defiantly, “THAT’S throwing like a girl”.
It is this spirit that we need to instill in the next generation. Doing something “like as girl” is just as powerful and meaningful and fierce as doing something “like a boy”.
Always campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs
Mo’ne Davis World Series Commerical: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN_5myhJmlM
Also found this article on stereotyping pretty interested and wanted to share: http://elitedaily.com/envision/these-portraits-of-powerful-men-and-women-as-societal-stereotypes-are-shocking/775560/
Also— sports news connected to the hierarchy of race discussion in class:
Wide receiver Percy Harwin was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the New York Jets last week. Allegedly Harwin had said that the Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was “not black enough” and was therefore unable to respect him as a teammate, causing tension on the field and division in the locker room. I found this interesting as it is a recent manifestation of what we were talking about in class on Thursday (how lighter skinned African Americans have historically been able to assimilate into areas of American society and culture easier than their darker skinned counterparts), so just thought I’d share that as well!