What does it mean to do something “like a girl”? If you’re of an adult age, you probably immediately associate negative connotations with the phrase. Because growing up, on schoolyards and sports teams everywhere,doing something “likea girl” was undoubtedly associated with weakness and inferiority. It was a categorical insult.
In the modern age, though, it shouldn’tbe. Girls today are primed to be the nextgeneration of strong, successful achievers, and if last night’smost inspiring ad is an indicator, they know it.
Always’ #LikeAGirlcommercial proved to be one of the best of the best on Super Bowl night,serving as powerful reinforcement for young girls still fighting the gender gap that being “like a girl” is a great and powerful thing. In case you missed it, watch it above.
Social media responded to Always’ message of female empowerment in a big way, spawning a surge of #LikeAGirl tweets to get the topic trending on Twitter.
Now, some people weren’t into it (namely, a few guys out there), prompting the #LikeABoy hashtag and tweets like this:
While others decidedly were:
Overall, the ad was a major hit. #LikeAGirl showed us that women are making strides every day, and brought us a barrage of inspiring tweets as as result. Everyone from men to moms, female athletes to female entrepreneurs got in on the action.
Diane Robinson, Ph.D, a neuropsychologist at the UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health says it’s important young girls get messages like this one, because the ad is right: puberty is a time when female self-esteem plummets. “In elementary school we find that girls and boys are equal in math and sciences — actually, girls tend to outperform boys slightly,” she tells Yahoo Health. “Likewise, younger girls tend to be on a par athletically, as well.”
Enter puberty. “Muscle structure always gave boys a natural edge, but those hormones that course through our adolescents’ bodies change the game,” she says. “The slight edge boys had takes a huge leap, and there is an unmistakable physical dominance that results.”
The result is lower self-esteem in girls, coupled with lower all-important math and science scores, says Robinson.
She also says that girls are aware they’re judged far more on their appearance than men from a young age — and body image issues and other negative side effects are very common as a result. “Interesting studies have taken students of both sexes, at the same academic performance level, and had them take an exam,” she says. “A mirror is then placed in front of them, or they are asked to do this in a swimsuit, and female scores plummet.”
Nature and culture both play their roles, as women always know, at least on a subconscious level, things aren’t equal. “Analysis in recent years tells a story, not of overt sexism, but a more covert one that is more pervasive and still very damaging,” she explains. “Boys get more attention in the schools and in the sports arena, and girls continue to fight for the right to be heard from the classroom to the boardroom.”
This is why campaigns similar to #LikeAGirl are so important. They show girls their own strength — and that we do recognize their amazing qualities.
Way to drop the mic #LikeAGirl, Jennifer.
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