There’s been a rather disturbing video going around Facebook and Twitter the last couple days. It’s an ad by Always, and it’s showing how the words #LikeaGirl often give a negative connotation. I have posted the video below, but if you don’t want to take the time to watch it (although it’s powerful and only 3 min. long), basically, there are girls probably in high school that the narrator asks to “Run like a girl,” and “Throw like a girl.” And the girls do just what you would imagine–they act ridiculous and run like no girl really ever does and throw with a limp arm. Then they ask little girls–ages 5/6-10 to do the same thing, and they try their hardest to run and throw, without acting ridiculous. It’s very powerful.
But this post is NOT JUST about this video because many of you have already seen it and discussed it on Facebook. It’s about what we can do in our everyday lives TO STOP this kind of stereotyping, which I am probably as guilty of as everyone else. Here’s a list of 8 things that I thought of that can turn #LikeAGirl into a positive phrase. I need to do these just as much as anyone–believe me, I find myself stereotyping all the time. I hope to change that now. And I hope that both my books, Caught Between Two Curses and Finding My Place, give #LikeAGirl a positive connotation. I like to think my two main characters, Julie (17) and Anna (13), are strong and unique. Anyway. . .on to the list:
- Go see a women’s college sports team play any sport–I particularly love basketball and volleyball. Your children will be amazed at the strength and athleticism, and #LikeAGirl will be hard to beat! (And the sad thing (although good for your pocketbook) is that these events are free or very inexpensive, compared to men’s games).
- Read nonfiction books about Olympic stars (these are all over your library), focusing on women athletes.
- As moms, do physical activities with your children. Don’t say (and I do!), “Your dad will take you bike riding or play outside with you.” Switch roles–dad cook, mom play.
- #LikeAGirl does not have to just pertain to athletes–not all girls OR boys love sports. Celebrate some wonderfully STRONG women in literature who are not athletic, such as the brilliant Hermione Granger, or for younger girls, Clementine by Sara Pennypacker. Or how about history? Mother Theresa–if she’s #LikeaGirl, I want to be just like her!
- Watch what you say–we don’t even realize what we’re saying sometimes before it comes out of our mouths. For example, instead of telling daughters, they look cute or pretty, try compliments like, “I bet you’ll run fast in those shoes.” OR “You are so smart to figure that out.” OR “It was very brave of you to go up there by yourself.”
- Show your children the proper form to do everything–for example, throwing a ball is not a girl’s way or a boy’s way. There is a “right” way to throw a softball, shoot a basket, kick a soccer goal.
- If you do nothing else on this list, do this–whether you have sons or daughters or nieces/nephews. This blog is amazing and insightful, and you can subscribe to it: A Mighty Girl blog.
- Instead of pointing out male and female differences when talking about people/kids, discuss what makes people unique–for example, a person has good manners, is a great artist, is kind to animals, ran a marathon, etc.
Here’s the video:
What do you think? What are your ideas?