Every so often, I am surprised by the integrity and thought provoking-ness of commercials, which usually focus on objectification, materialism and acquisition. I am talking about the Always advertisement #likeagirl, which interviews girls from age 6 to girls in their late teens of what it means to do actions – run, throw, fight – like a girl. It is a powerful video that reaches beyond the superficiality of most commercials to push and prod at one of the most basic and unyielding stereotypes of being a girl: that girls are physically inferior, lack self-esteem and as a result, must re-adapt and question their identity.
What struck me was how pervasive the negative connotation of “running like a girl” or “acting like a girl” is in the everyday actions of women. I even found myself trying to rationalize the times in the last week when phrases similar to that were thrown my way, and my unconscious reaction – to protest them. As a woman, how often do you hear the voice of society telling you to hide your weaknesses and to be tough? How many times does that translate to acting like a man? How amazing would it be if acting as a strong female was perceived not as a unique quality, but a norm that all girls growing up think is natural?
Another aspect of the video that gave me hope for the future generations of women is that it is the younger girls, before age 10, who identified that acting “like a girl” is being the best they can be as themselves, and not falling into negative stereotypes. The matter-of-fact answers of just being yourself and “run as fast as you can” made me catch my breath and wonder, am I being true to myself as a girl?
So, watch the video link again. Watch this ad and be inspired. Doing things #likeagirl is an honor and a right, not anything to be ashamed of. It is a hope that we carry for all girls and one we should constantly remind ourselves. To be like a girl is…possibility, strength of self and greatness.
Also, if you are interested in the Director and her motivations for making the ad: