#LikeAGirl

June 30, 2014

By Gabrielle.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, I wanted to share this powerful video. It’s actually a commercial, but doesn’t feel commercial at all. And I think it brings up a really important topic. Ralph sent the link to me and I’ve watched it a dozen times — and I had the kids watch it too.

Little June was uninterested. : ) Oscar and Betty were a little confused by it. They haven’t yet learned that the phrase “like a girl” is often used as a way to cut someone down. But Olive, Maude and Ralph were all impacted. We had a good discussion about the commercial, and that it wasn’t trying to set up competition between girls and boys, but was simply highlighting the fact that there’s nothing shameful about being a girl. I loved this line near the end:

“I would run like myself.”

like-a-girl

Have you watched it? Or shared it with your kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

P.S. — I linked to this a couple of Fridays ago, but I think it relates well to the video above. The words we use matter! That old rhyme — sticks and stones may brake my bones, but names will never hurt me — is dead wrong.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dayna June 30, 2014 at 11:40 am

I have not seen this commercial before, but I love it! I have a three year old daughter and I hope that by the time she is a preteen, this phrase will have no longer have the significance that it does to teens today. I find it fantastic that Oscar and Betty were confused by the video! Maybe this means society is slowly shifting?

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2 Design Mom June 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Good question. I wondered the same thing. I also wondered if it was an age thing like the video highlighted. Oscar is 9 and Betty is 8 — perhaps they’re young enough that they are like the littlest kids in the video who ran their hardest when asked to “run like a girl”.

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3 Dayna July 1, 2014 at 10:10 am

Yes, I suppose it is an age thing like the video suggests. But the more adults and older children who stand up against this stereotype, the less a chance that it will continue to the next generation. I’ve always felt that if anyone could do something, that I could do it to if I tried hard enough, boy or girl doesn’t matter. I think I can thank my parents for giving me that mentality, and I hope to share it with my daughter!

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4 Lana Cole June 30, 2014 at 11:46 am

Is it a normal response to this video to cry? Because, it definitely made me cry and run to hug my baby girl. I probably reacted to this video “like a girl” and it felt sincere.

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5 Design Mom June 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Oh my goodness. I’ve watched it so many times, and teared up with every single viewing! I find it to be a really emotional video.

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6 Jenny P June 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I cried (both times) and I don’t even have a daughter. My three year old son watched it with me and commented on how silly the first people looked and how “fast and strong” the girls looked.

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7 Stephanie (afunhouse) June 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I’ve watched it twice with two of my four girls and had the exact same response quickly followed by the same question. Yikes, I’ve got to watch it at least two more times today and I both look forward to it and dread it!

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8 Heidi June 30, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Oh my gosh-right there with you. I watched it and cried.

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9 Elizabeth June 30, 2014 at 11:49 am

This is just so powerful and beautiful. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like I am noticing so much more violence against and degradation of women lately. Maybe we’re just paying more attention. In any case, as a girl who suffered and still does suffer from a lot of self doubt at times, some of it absolutely “because I’m a girl, ” I can’t think of anything more important than noticing these kinds of things and working to immediately combat this kind of attitude. It’s so incredibly debilitating to many. Thanks for sharing Gabrielle! I love Designmom!

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10 Design Mom June 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm

“Maybe we’re just paying more attention.”

That’s my take on it. I hope we’ve reached a point where we’re fed up with the nonsense and are willing to speak up when we see it.

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11 Barchbo June 30, 2014 at 11:57 am

As an athlete, this phrase has always bothered me – fortunately my athletic parents were bothered by it, too! They taught us to speak up when someone used that phrase because in our house to do anything “like a girl” was to do it well!

When I taught teenagers, I heard this a lot and never stopped inserting my comments. My favorite was: “I’m a girl. Wanna race?” No one ever took me up on it, but my point was made. :)

Females can be empowered without disempowering males – there is room for everyone on the field/court/pitch/track!

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12 Design Mom June 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

“In our house to do anything “like a girl” was to do it well!”

Love that.

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13 Robin June 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

Great video!

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14 Kirsten June 30, 2014 at 12:15 pm

When my now teenage daughter was about 9, she was outside running races with a neighbor boy . I was chatting with his mom. My daughter beat her son and she yelled to tease him: I can’t believe you got beat by a GIRL!
I tried to let know that that wasn’t okay to say, but I couldn’t believe she thought it was since… She’s a girl!

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15 Kirsten June 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Oops, just realized this was misleading. It was his MOM who yelled it, NoT my daughter! :[

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16 Design Mom June 30, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I’m betting everyone reading has witnessed a similar situation. Even if I haven’t said it aloud, I’ve had the same thoughts cross my mind! So awful. I think both boys and girls internalize the message that being “like a girl” is a bad thing.

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17 Martha June 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm

My kids are growing up on a dairy farm. Many would think that we hold those stereotypes – NOT true. We have a rule – there are no boy toys, no girl toys, no boy sports, no girl sports!! I have had a woman helping on my farm that would drive a tractor while looking backward to check on the wrapped hay and eat a hamburger all at the same time!! My kids have the option to try and do anything that they want. No pressures, no limits – our job as parents is to encourage and support, I have not and Never will use the term “___like a girl”. Unless it means WIN!!!

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18 Doris June 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm

SO Powerful. This needs to be required viewing!
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve said the same thing in conversation. I tell my kids all the time words are more powerful than actions. I wish I would remember to follow my own advice at times!

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19 Danni June 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm

When I was a kid, all the girls on my gymnastics team would rock this t-shirt: http://www.ten-o.com/Beam-Like-A-Girl-Tee,798.html?b=d*14818. A little old school, but a good message!

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20 maike June 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

loved it! reminded me do much of how empowered I felt as a young teenager. oh, how much I’d love my kids to carry that feeling into adulthood.

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21 maike June 30, 2014 at 2:09 pm

SO much. not do much. :-)

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22 Linda K June 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I showed this video to my 6 year-ol daughter last week and she was confused…like your Betty, she had no idea “like a girl” might be pejorative. Then I felt horrible having been the one to introduce the concept to her :( She was also confused about why I was crying when I showed it to her. But we had a quick conversation about it, and she ended up by saying that she is glad no one in her life uses “like a girl” to mean something bad, and that her brother thinks she is super strong and powerful.

Also want to share an incident from last week in a related vein. My son’s baseball team was in the playoffs. It is a mixed-gender league of 9 and 10 year olds, but there aren’t that many girls. When one of the three girls on the field went up to bat, a father on the opposing team yelled “Easy out, easy out” to his son (who I assume was the pitcher). Everyone was horrified, and the incident ended up being documented and addressed by the league executive. I know that “easy out” is something that gets yelled by competitive types, but in this instance no one doubted the gender implications of the epithet. I was heartened that it was the fathers of boys on the team who pusued the issue with the league. It takes all of us – men and women, mothers and fathers of boys and girls – to end this nonsense.

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23 Emily F June 30, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I watched this last night and loved it SO much. I teared up when the little girl in the pink dress just started running. I never considered that “like a girl” doesn’t sound insulting to little kids. I just really really loved that thought.

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24 Nina June 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm

I totally cried. How pathetic our society is to say this to girls like it’s a bad thing. Those sweet, young girls who just ran and threw and fought with all their might, that was wonderful and powerful to watch. I love this video!! Thank you so much for sharing it!

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25 Michelle June 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm

I watched this last week and was in tears by the end as well. In tears because I’ve used the term “like a girl” quite often joking around with my kids. It made me realize how demeaning it is and I shouldn’t say it ever again. I want to empower them not break them down. I can’t wait to see the comments and pictures attached to the like a girl hashtag!

**As a side note, I usually said it in my best imitation voice of the little boy in The Sandlot who tells one of the other boys that he throws a baseball “LIKE A GIRL.”**

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26 Scarlett June 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

It makes me so sad to think that as a woman in her 30s, I still carry around the stigma that girls shouldn’t and can’t “play” as well as boys can play. As a mother to two boys, I usually let my husband do all of the physical playing with my kiddos while I relegate myself to coloring, crafting, doing puzzles, etc. I even tell my own son, “Ask your dad, sweetie. You know mommy doesn’t run.” Realizing how little confidence I have in myself to be physically active with my sons saddens me. This video has forced me to look at myself as an adult who carries around with her the view that girls can’t be rambunctious, they can’t be as good as boys at climbing, they can’t rough and tumble. I want my sons to see that girls and women can be just as capable as them to do anything they want, whether its painting pictures or climbing trees. Thanks, Gabrielle, for posting this!

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27 Rachel Peters June 30, 2014 at 9:35 pm

At least three of my dear girl friends worked on this campaign for over a year and a half until that eventually nailed it. I am so proud of those ladies for wielding their influence (even in the space of marketing and consumer goods) for the better. It’s a joy to see the wave of freedom this video is bringing.

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28 Alix June 30, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I saw this video the other day and found it so well done—I just love that first little girl who just runs like crazy! I also wanted to say thank you so much for reposting our “Tell her She’s Pretty Brilliant Too” commercial. It’s really hit a nerve with the public (we were featured on Good Morning America and have almost 3 million views on Youtube now, which has been SO gratifying and exciting!). It was such a pleasure to work on something that actually had meaning. I love my job very much, but it was refreshing to produce a spot that wasn’t selling (or trying to sell) anything. Encouraging our girls to explore STEM is an issue close to my heart. I hope this wave of empowering videos continues—let’s raise the next generation of inspiring, awesome, female inventors/creators/atheletes/thinkers! Thanks for always sharing such wonderful stuff!! xoxo

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29 Elizabeth Aquino June 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Thanks for posting that video. I felt teary watching it, especially when the little girls came on and were so unashamed, so boisterous and confident. I showed the video to my 13 and 15 year old sons, and they felt very uncomfortable. I’ve heard them using the expression “like a girl” many times, and it’s always bothered me. I’m not sure how to convey these things to them, and even after seeing their reaction to the video, I’m not sure if they will think or speak differently, but I sure hope so.

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30 Jenny July 1, 2014 at 3:23 am

Bringing up my 7 year old daughter to be bilingual English/French in France, I’m particularly aware of the weight of words as I am the one teaching them to her so she can use them and understand them when she talks with other English speakers. This video really hit home, when the first “little” girl came on and gave it her all, I saw my daughter – that look of determination to succeed at an age where girls and boys are still (just) on a physical par, the playing field is still level and anything is possible in a world that’s fair. And that’s the moment when I cried. Thank you for sharing, I’ll definitely be doing the same.

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31 Megan (Best of Fates) July 1, 2014 at 6:57 am

That ad was so great – I love this trend of anti-sexist ads!

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32 Danielle July 1, 2014 at 8:17 am

Thank you so much for sharing – that was incredible. And yep, I cried. We get so much garbage thrown at us as girls, as women – and we just put up with it. The latest ruling by the Supreme Court is yet another example. Enough is enough.

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33 Sophie July 1, 2014 at 9:22 am

Well done! I like the video very much. Very emotional but overall eye opening for all of us. Very significant to me was the reaction of the boy ” maybe I insulted some girls, but not my sister…” We must educate boys and men to quit this attitude, for their sisters and all the others as much as we must educate girls to be ambitious and proud of themselves!

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34 Sophie July 1, 2014 at 9:32 am

See GIRL RISING, another amazing project!
http://girlrising.com/

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35 Amy3 July 1, 2014 at 11:36 am

I had seen the Always ad and loved it. Thanks for also linking to the Verizon ad. Now I love that one too. Both so powerful and uplifting. I need to share them with my daughter who’s 12.

Having a daughter increased my awareness of how girls and women are viewed and treated. However, I feel so much MORE aware of it in the wake of recent events – #yesallwomen, these ads, the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling. I’m tired of living in a world where it’s still ok for women to be second-class citizens.

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36 J July 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm

I don’t get it. I ran track over 20 years ago. Of course the term is pejorative, but who cares? There are indeed women who run like this and they’ll get made fun of, rightfully so. In fact, I saw a documentary about how female humans attract the male species by swaying hips. Some traits are innate. We are not unisex.

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37 susan July 1, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Such a tragedy that doing anything “like a girl” is thought of as a pejorative. I think it raises a generation of girls who question their agency. I know I marvel at my husband (sometimes with admiration, sometimes with irritation) when he is sure that he can take on ANY home improvement project with absolutely no prior knowledge of the process. I joke that his life motto is his oft quoted sentiment of, “How hard can it be?” Whereas I, on the other hand, worry that I won’t do it right and that I need at the least, youtube videos and someone helping me, and at best, hired professionals. My parents are kind, supportive people. Why do I think that?

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38 Sarah W July 1, 2014 at 10:46 pm

I just saw this today! It was the ad before a Youtube video I was watching. Usually I skip the ads but this was had me right away and I had to watch it. So glad I did!

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39 Mrs. A July 2, 2014 at 12:02 am

@Alix

I’m right with you in encouraging girls to be interested in STEM careers. My son attends one of the first STEM elementary schools in our state. The school is a publicly-funded option school with an amazing STEM curriculum, project-based learning, and incredible teachers – many of them women (in fact our tech teacher is a woman and is one of the best in the state). Our math and reading instruction is to be envied, and the kids spend a full 1/2 of their day in science and STEM projects. It’s soooo much fun!!

This school provides an innovative learning atmosphere for all kids. However, I just saw our enrollment numbers for next year – nearly 3 boys to every 1 girl. Why is it that parents won’t pursue these options for their girls? Do they not know that their “artistic” daughter could become an incredible architect? That their “musically inclined” daughter could become a code-writer? Or that their “horse crazy” daughter could become a biologist?

My son loves this school, but it would be so much better with more girls. It wouldn’t be a surprise for him if there were more girls at his school – his “auntie” is an aeronautical engineer, his female cousins are science teachers and researchers, and our close neighbor women are engineers and architects. But all of them have stories about bucking trends and having little support from family/teachers until college (his auntie was even encouraged to become a hairdresser – not that it’s a bad thing but she’s so good at designing helicopters!!). So, why will parents not send their daughters to a STEM elementary school?

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40 Mrs. A July 2, 2014 at 12:06 am

Oh, and I LOVED the video!! My daughter is 20 months old and my husband and I think she has quite the throwing arm (plus she runs like the wind, climbs like a monkey, and is just an athletic happy little girl). Her brother (7 years old) tells her all the time that she is strong and amazing. I can’t imagine the day when someone insults her athletic abilities because she is a girl.

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41 Franca Bollo July 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Can we quit using the term “tomboy” while we’re at it?

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42 Spalva August 5, 2014 at 4:44 am

I have a 14 year-old daughter who is probably far beyond most people’s concept of a tomboy. These days tomboys are portrayed as very, very girly. It’s interesting. I don’t see too many girls out there — in the media or in person — who are truly more masculine than feminine. None of the girls in this video look anything like my daughter. She is regularly mistaken for a boy, even while wearing pink, even with some new boobs.

Which brings me to: Honestly, these days I’m much more concerned about the way boys are perceived and treated. Because my daughter is regularly mistaken for a boy, she is regularly treated like a boy — and it shocks me the way people speak to boys. We were recently boarding a flight to Frankfurt and my daughter absent-mindedly followed me after the boarding agent had checked my ticket along with my younger daughter’s. The boarding agent spoke to her like a young hooligan. I know she would have never spoken to her like that if she thought she was a girl. It happens all the time. She is regularly spoken to with a tone of assumed guilt, with a certain roughness that if I were the parent of this “boy” I would have to say something.

My daughter has also noticed that boys are regularly given the blame for all sorts of things. She says that in her ethics class the boy is always blamed for an unwanted pregnancy. This saddens and shocks some of the boys in the class.

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