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#LikeaGirl campaign hits hard

Posted: July 1, 2014 10:25 a.m.
Updated: July 2, 2014 5:00 a.m.

I was very impressed with Proctor & Gamble’s recent #LikeaGirl commercial. First, let me make it clear that I think putting a # in front of a word or phrase is the stupidest, most mindless and useless trend, probably of all time. Moving on, I am such a fan of this commercial and the campaign itself.

The commercial asks young women and men, some still in adolescence, some nearing adulthood, to do different activities “like a girl,” including such things as running, fighting and throwing. There is an overwhelming difference between the way the participants who are older than puberty age and those who are younger. The older participants portray a very negative manifestation of doing activities “like a girl.”

They run, fight and throw in a ridiculous and absurd manner, very ineffectively, conveying a sense of weakness and stupidity. It is the cliché example that probably most of us are familiar with of how girls are supposed to somehow be not as good as boys at physical activities.

A huge difference occurs when the pre-pubescent participants have their turn to do the same activities like a girl. They run as hard as they can and swing with their utmost force. Their simulated throws hold nothing back. In no way to they embody the ridiculous, silly and false definition of female physical strength depicted by their slightly older peers. They’ve not yet been indoctrinated with the conceived notion that girls are inferior to men. The ad explains that that notion tends to appear during puberty.

The commercial is humbling. I’ve not seen any advertisement that caught me off guard in such a way as this … possibly ever in my life. This commercial is an action call to change a false stereotype that has been in existence for far too long. This commercial is saying, loud and clear, that there’s nothing weak or pathetic about being a girl. It’s saying that being a girl means being a winner, a contender, a full-on champion.

I think this message is one that we all need to hear. I have been lucky in my life by having parents who supported me in whatever I wanted to do. I never wanted to play sports because I had no interest and talent for them, but I tried my hand anyway. Never once did I hear from them that I shouldn’t do something because I was female.

In fact, my younger sister is an incredible athlete who was the pitcher for the Coker College softball team for four years. It was never a surprise to me to see a girl kick butt at sports like she did. We all thought that she was an incredible athlete, not with the qualifying phrase “for a girl” attached to it, but just in general.

I’ve been incredibly lucky and blessed with my parents. They are two very special, tolerant and intelligent people, and many of the complaints I’ve heard friends share about their parents, I’ve never had. My parents encouraged us to do what we wanted in life and to work hard for our goals. Being female never factored in as a limitation at all, whatsoever. So, maybe my confidence in myself isn’t common and makes me different, but I am thankful for it.

For those girls who did internalize such messages that men are somehow better and more deserving of success and recognition, I am truly sorry. I think P&G’s campaign is designed to destroy this mindset and to level the playing field between men and women. We are equals. We say we know that; it’s time we believed it.

With young girls receiving positive messages about themselves, including that they can be successful at athletics and science and mechanics and other stereotypical “male-dominated fields,” the possibilities for the future are endless. It’s taken a very long time, but we are finally coming to realize that doing something “like a girl” is actually pretty damn cool.


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