When Did ‘Like a Girl’ Become An Insult?
WHEN did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult? You kick like a girl, you throw like a girl, you hit like a girl and my favourite, you whinge like a girl. Have we moved on at all?
Are we, as the female race, seen as so weak that all our attributes are taken the mickey out of? I don’t know about you but I fight like me! Yes, I’m a girl but ask my brother, he’s still afraid of me. I can kick a ball, throw a ball and I don’t whinge. I shout. When this saying is used by boys/men, are they insisting that females are weak, not much use at anything and something to be laughed at? Do we realise that using this term is deemed as derogatory and insulting to women?
The Superbowl showed a powerful advert last weekend that has gone viral with over 50 million hits. The idea of the advertisement from Always was to empower the female society to be as they are. It’s a social experiment, which has been going since June 2014. It has received mixed reviews with some questioning that a tampon maker has made it. But for whatever reason, it has certainly made the desired impact around the world and has been an advertiser’s dream.
So are you guilty of this old attitude? Girls can’t do what boys do? Women and men are both guilty of using this term and it’s been around for a long time. I must admit I have been sucked into this cultural cliché myself. As a mother of two girls and a boy, I struggle to keep it even. They all have different strengths and are better than the others at certain things. I try to encourage my girls that they can do anything they want and that society should not dictate otherwise.
Let’s take Serena Williams as an example of a woman who destroys the insult ‘like a girl’ signifies. Serena is a successful strong sportswoman. Her athletic build has brought her some criticism with many saying she looks like a man. This has brought more attention than her amazing athletic ability, her success and her growing wealth. As we bring up our girls in this society, should we be producing tomboys? Take away their feminity? Have them fight boys? Have them play contact sports? Do we enrol them in karate classes so they can kick ass as good as any boy?
If you watch the advertisement, you will probably laugh at the way the young boys see girls when they are requested to fight like a girl and they are flapping their hands wildly in the air. But when you see the girls respond to the same questions with a little more maturity, you’ll be annoyed at the insulting way boys portray girls. The problem here is that the boys have no idea they are been insulting and are just another part of this cultural cliché.
So let’s reverse this campaign with the other popular saying ‘that girl has balls’ or that girl has ‘balls of steel’. Is this insulting to men? Of course not, as we are empowering a woman by calling her this. A woman with ‘balls’ in our society is a strong, successful woman who takes no crap from anyone. Is every man we meet like this? No. So do we all go around lip syncing the words from Jessie J’s “Do It Like A Dude“?
We should come away from this campaign with the attitude – yes, I am a girl. So what? Yes, I’m a girl and I play GAA. Yes, I’m a girl and I’m an Olympic gold medal winner? Yes, I’m a girl and I’m the Chancellor of Germany. For these and many other successful ladies, there is no shame in acting like a girl. It works for us.
Photo c/o popsugar.com