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Why the Always “Like a Girl” Campaign Is So Important

On Super Bowl Sunday, we saw the Always #likeagirl campaign come to widespread fame.  While these commercials had been around for about a year, the real attention came during their Super Bowl spot.  These ads feature young women, boys, and men depicting what it means to run like a girl, hit like a girl, etc.  They always do it in some weak, faint motion, worrying about their looks and looking somewhat fearful.  Yet, when young girls between the ages of five and ten are asked the same questions, they give these actions all they have, running and pretending to throw with all their strength.  The videos then end with the idea that saying that someone does something “like a girl” shouldn’t be an insult, it should be a saying of empowerment.  It raises the question “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?”

            While campaigns about positivity in females is nothing new, Always changes the game.  Most campaigns, such as the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty or Special K’s Fight Fat Talk, talk specifically about body image.  Lauren Greenfield, the director of the campaign, decided to take a different approach in not just focusing on the outside issue, but the direct hits that words about strength and power take on girls.  In the full 3:19 minute video, the director states that confidence drops begin to happen to girls during puberty, when words such as “you run like a girl” hit the hardest.

            These campaigns brought such a fresh new view to the current wave of positive female self-confidence campaigns.  There is such a focus on positive female body image these days that the idea of empowering from within is lost.  While changing negative body image is important, real strength comes from within.  It’s even more important to address performance issues like that because it’s one thing to be ashamed of the outside.  It’s a completely different, more deeply-rooted issue to be ashamed of your achievements, of your strength, of your skills.  Those are the things that determine a person. Showing that someone does something “like a girl” therefore needs to embody all the positive traits that girls carry.

            Thankfully, this campaign is getting to the right idea with its participants.  When one participant was asked “what advice do you have to young girls who are told that they run like a girl, kick like a girl, hit like a girl, swim like a girl,” she answered “Keep doing it, because it’s working.”  At the end of the video, when asked if they wanted to differently portray what it means to run like a girl and hit like a girl, most girls did.  And they did it as strongly as they could.  “Like a Girl” has started a new movement, and the momentum needs to keep going.

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