Opinions

There’s no shame in doing anything #LikeAGirl

When an Always ad aired during the Super Bowl, it caused a major stir and online uproar. Twitter feeds exploded with the hashtag #LikeAGirl, and there have been almost 40,000 comments posted on the YouTube video of the commercial, which has received over 56 million views.

The ad features grown women and men, young boys, and young girls, who are all asked to perform tasks such as “run like a girl” or “throw like a girl.”

The adult males and females, and the young boys, portray girls as weak, pathetic, and laughable.

But when girls aged five to 10 are asked to run “like a girl,” they take it seriously. One little girl takes off across the screen in a sprint – and later, when she is asked what it means to run like a girl, her confident response is: “It means run fast as you can.”

Bravo.

This commercial is meant to empower women, and while the ad itself has been airing since July 2014, the groundbreaking moment was when an advertisement for feminine products was broadcast during the Super Bowl, which is usually dominated by ads and products aimed at men.

The hashtag #LikeAGirl has been trending since, with women posting photos of great achievements and men commending the women in their lives for their leadership, strength, and success.

But while most men joined in the chorus of women online who praised the ad for its celebration of girls, many have spoken out against the commercial.

On Twitter and YouTube, some went so far as to argue that the ad was demeaning to men.

Note: not once during the three-minute, 18-second commercial is a comment made against males.

One Twitter user, @Meninist, began a campaign to get the hashtag #LikeABoy trending, which he claimed was in the name of promoting gender equality.

On Feb. 2, Eric Thomas Roy commented on a Huffington Post article with a retort to the males asserting that the Always ad was disparaging men:

“’Demeaning to boys’…..Have you heard of the patriarchy? As soon as the male population is oppressed for one mere moment in ANY society, I will give your notion some merit.”

This argument, and other similar reasoning—most often posted in online forums by men who support the ad—has spread just as quickly as praise for the commercial itself.

For the most part, people are embracing what Always did. But some men continue to bash the commercial for focusing on women.

Umm – did we forget what Always is? Should we aim advertising for feminine hygiene products toward both sexes, in the name of gender equality?

Somehow it’s doubtful that men could be a primary target audience for pads and tampons.

Clearly, some people missed the point of the commercial.

It was not intended to raise women higher than men. The objective was simply to remind girls that they can do anything they set their minds to, and to renounce the negative connotation behind the words “like a girl.”

I recall a time in junior high when we had a school-wide softball tournament, and each homeroom class was a team. The boys were ready to take every important infield position and shuffle all the girls into the outfield, but I told them I could pitch.

After all, I had played ball for seven years and could throw good, hard fastball pitches that rivalled the speed thrown by boys on my brothers’ baseball teams.

Not believing me, one of my classmates squatted down, gloveless, and told me to prove it. I told him to get a glove—I warned him—but he refused. So I took a deep breath, wound up, and fired a strike right into his bare hands.

It knocked him on his back, and I walked to where he lay, stood over him, and said, “Told you to use a glove.”

It was one of my proudest moments as a girl.

I proved something that day, and the boys in my class never saw me the same way again. As far as athletics were concerned, we were on an even playing field.

But it should not take so much effort for girls to be taken seriously. It seems as though they must prove themselves at every turn.

Look at education. Historically-speaking, it was just recently that women were afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts to attend post-secondary institutions and pursue careers that were traditionally dominated by men.

The “old boys’ clubs” are being forced to let the girls in. And while some want to dig in their heels and post that cardboard sign outside the clubhouse that reads “No girls allowed,” the fact is that Western society is changing, and more equality is gained with every passing year.

Building women up, protecting young girls from past ridicule found in those phrases, “throw like a girl” or “fight like a girl” does not make all women—and the men who stand up for them—feminists. It does not mean that men are disparaged.

It only means that women are finally taking pride in what it means to be female, and that being a girl—doing things “like a girl”—should not be cause for ridicule.

Maybe I throw like a girl. Maybe I talk like a girl, dress like a girl, walk like a girl.

Maybe I write like a girl.

That’s because I am one.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Ten Things Men Can Do With Female Hygiene Products

By Santana Blanchette
1. Tampons make for great earplugs
2. Tampons can be used to plug up nose bleeds
3. Can’t find a note pad? Maxipads will do in a pinch for writing things down.
4. Make a dream catcher out of Diva Cups and fishing wire to chase away nightmares.
5. Writing a letter in a bottle? Plug it with a high absorbency tampon to keep the water out.
6. Tie the strings of a few tampons together and play telephone with your friends.
7. Diva cups make for great shot glasses.
8. Save empty tampon boxes and build forts with them.
9. Feminine washes can be used to polish your car.
10. Find a hole in your raft this summer? Plug it with a tampon.

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