This past June the #LikeAGirl campaign launched. In this video, they asked adults and children to reenact various tasks “like a girl” would. The adult men and women would perform the tasks, such as running in place or throwing an invisible ball, in a way that denoted frailty or weakness. The young girls, on the other hand, ran and threw the ball using every ounce of energy they had.
It’s no surprise that girls and boys are socialized differently as they grow. Social learning theory posits that we imitate what we see from those that are like us. The stereotypical one being that boys wrestle and girls play with dolls. With phrases like “you _____ like a girl” or “Don’t be a wimp,” it denotes there is something inherently inferior about doing anything “like a girl” would, yet alone actually being a girl. When the adult women reenacted running or throwing a ball in a way that demonstrated weakness or with the inability to be the best, what does that say about how she fundamentally views herself and other women?
The reason I love this video so much is because it inspires girls and women to embrace the phrase “like a girl.” It acknowledges that girls are different than boys, but it does so in a way that, “Yes, we may be different, but we ARE awesome!” It makes her feel confident in her abilities to run, throw, jump, write, and exist in a way that she embraces her strengths and abilities to be the best person she can be. This is great for women who have grown up to believe she is less than because of her gender, and it’s even greater for girls who have not yet been socially reared to believe it. With movements like this, girls can have higher self-esteem and self-efficacy, and that’s exactly what this world needs.
- Written by Lindsey Harper