Linda Douglas, Principal of Ruyton Girls’ School in Melbourne writes…
During the holidays many of us watched the #LikeAGirl ad launched by Always and directed by Lauren Greenfield. The three minute video has had over 25 million hits since it was published on June 26 2014 and has been highlighted by the media both here and overseas.
When did doing something like a girl become an insult? It is this question that provides the focus for the video, exposing the stereotype that develops with age. When one of the young girls is asked whether ‘like a girl’ is a good thing or a bad thing she pauses and then reflects ‘it sounds like you’re trying to humiliate someone.’
‘In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand,’ said Lauren Greenfield, a lauded filmmaker and director of the video.
‘When the words “like a girl” are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering.’
As the video ends a confident young woman is asked what advice she would give girls who are told they run, kick and throw ‘like a girl’.
She says: ‘Keep doing it because it is working. It’s their problem not yours. It doesn’t matter what they say. 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 am going to do it my way.’
We all know that adolescence can be a challenging time. We need to champion girls’ confidence and build it so that they continue to see themselves as strong and able young women. We need to make the phrase ‘like a girl’ mean amazing things, a proud and strong message that men, women, girls and boys need to understand and use appropriately.
To do something like a girl should be a positive message that means to be your best. Always.