By Taylor Mead, Regular ContributorJuly 31, 2015
When we’re young, we’re scolded for using the four letter words we overhear the kid using on the playground, we’re punished for making fun of others and for bullying, and we definitely get in trouble for pushing, scratching, or hurting others in any way.
Rarely, though, does anyone bat an eye when we insult someone with the phrase “like a girl.”
I would be lying, though, if I said those three words haven’t come out of my mouth at some point in my life, but I didn’t know any better at the time, and most children don’t. I probably said it to a boy or two growing up as part of the “teasing someone means you like them” phase, because I was young and naive to the fact that I was actually putting myself down by using those words so negatively.
Many people don’t realize the repercussions of the phrase to a young girl’s self-confidence, and that’s why this topic is so important. In reality, I never brought much attention to the fact that doing something “like a girl,” was such a terrible thing until I saw the Always #LIKEAGIRL commercial for the first time.
image via youtube.com
I sat there mesmerized, wondering why “like a girl” could not be transformed into something positive, something beautiful and why “running like a girl” or “hitting like a girl” had to be so negative.
Although she never had an experience with this herself, Megan Quinlan, a 13-year-old from Beverly Hills, Florida, retold the story of a time in gym class when a boy told one of her friends she “kicked like a girl” after missing the ball during kickball.
“It makes us feel as if we can’t do anything right or we aren’t good enough so we don’t try,” Quinlan stated. But we are good enough— and that’s exactly what Quinlan told her friend in gym that day, adding, “All that matters is that you try."
“Yes, I kick like a girl, and I swim like a girl, and I walk like a girl, and I wake up in the morning like a girl, because I AM a girl. And that is not something I should be ashamed of, so I’m gonna do it anyway.”
And while it’s a blessing to have friends like Quinlan around to remind us to think positively, not all young girls are able to keep their heads up. The Always campaign works to end the negativity and allows each and every one of us to be a part in changing the way we think. It works to empower, not only young girls and women to be confident and do their best, but also reminds young boys and men that their confidence can help in this “epic battle.
One day, not so far from now, I am confident that with increased awareness and attention we can make it so, “You (insert verb) like a girl” won’t require a “Shut up” or a frown, but a “Thank you” and a smile in response.
How can we be a part of transforming the phrase "like a girl"? Tell us below!
Taylor is a rising senior at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York where she studies Communication & Media Studies with a Journalism concentration and a Spanish minor. When she's not writing or editing for class and extracurriculars, you can find her spending time with friends and family, participating in activities with the Smart Girls Group at Fordham University, or eating. Her passions include writing, volunteering, and empowering young women to be their best, most confident selves.
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