Monday, 30 June 2014

Like a Girl .... what does that mean to you??

I saw the video above for the first time today. My friend had posted it on her Facebook page and I watched it without really thinking. When I had finished I felt quite upset. When did doing something "like a girl" become so derogatory?

Its true though isn't it? If you say to someone that they throw "like a girl" or run "like a girl" its not a compliment.

I tried it on my boys.

I said to them - "Throw like a girl. Run like a girl. Fight like a girl." Without fail they imitated the actions of a person who was weak, a bit pathetic ... Where did I go wrong?? Do they not realise that I'm a girl? I am feminine but strong. The two positions do not rule each other out. I have run a marathon, raised a family, fought for my rights and those of others. Do they really think that girls are so weak? So namby pamby?

In the film the thing that made me go watery eyed with pride was the sight of young girls who were confident, proud, unquestioning of their ability to be anything they wanted to be. Where do we lose that pride and that belief? When do we start to believe that girls are weak?

The film above is an advert, and a clever one at that, but it raises an interesting and powerful point. The language we use every day can make or break. Its important that girls and boys are given positive messages. Girls and boys can be strong and successful.Your gender should not define how successful you are. To use "like a girl" as an insult is as bad, to me, as using "gay" as a derogatory term, as using a person's colour or faith as an insult.

I am loathe to put free advertising on my blog, but this is about more than a cheap plug. Its about realising that we need to nurture, support and encourage, not put down, denigrate or belittle. "Like a girl" should mean " like a tiger" "like a warrior" ... "like something damn good".


Anonymous said...

Daughters,sisters and a Wife. I'll take like a girl. Katie does throw a punch like a girl

Razmataz said...

There is a movement in the US to ban the word bossy when referring to girls. I think Beyonce is championing this one. Personally I think it's ridiculous. Bossy is not so bad. Mostly used to refer to girls yes, but I think it's actually OK to be bossy.

Like a Girl is usually used for physical reference, hardly ever have I heard it as reference to mental ability because the female mind is so strong.

Razmataz said...

And I remember when all the confidence was sucked out of my daughter...SCHOOL. Starting in Grade 3.

Urban Cynic said...

A male friend of mine feels the same way about the phrase 'man up' and how it implies that he should be a certain way. It's interesting how we describe things without thought or ill intent though and even I'm guilty of jokingly saying 'big girl's blouse' and 'man up'.

I completely agree that calling something 'girly' usually implies that it's weak and ineffectual - and this should be changed. But I also think it's important to pick our battles.. there's just so many of them!

Urban Cynic said...

And just to add, I actually (controversially I'm sure)feel the same way about the phrase 'Mummy'. I detest the phrase 'Mummy Bloggers' or bloggers that seem to define themselves solely on the fact that they had children (you know a load of them actually).

You rarely see groups of 'Daddy bloggers' or a writer/blogger defining himself by the fact he's a father - because that's not his sole identity. But women do this all the time; their whole online identity is that they're a parent when they're surely so much more than that?

(You might not want to publish this as I'm aware that you know a lot of bloggers with the word Mummy in their title and you might not want to upset any of them.)

Emma Julia said...


sarah at secret housewife said...

Thanks for all your comments everyone. I suppose that really any derogatory comment is wrong. Sometimes these phrases trip off the tongue without us thinking too deeply about their impact. Perhaps we all need to think a little harder before we speak.