At some stage in life the meaning of the term “like a girl” twists from something incredible into something insulting.
When I was asked to spread the word about the #LikeAGirl movement, intended to remove the negative connotation associated with the phrase, I enlisted my son’s help. I planned to share a clip of his feminine impression how a girl might run.
However, it seems he’s on the cusp of the aforementioned twist. At eleven he still views males and females through equality coloured glasses. When I asked him to demonstrate a “girl run”, he ran hard and strong. It wasn’t the stereotypical reaction I had banked on. I considered grounding him for ruining his mother’s blog post. 😉
So how do our sweet kids suddenly sour? What dark force clouds their minds thus creating this negative point of view?
Oh wait a minute…
“You throw like a girl!”
“Shoot me if I ever start running like my mother. She runs like a girl.”
“He screamed like a girl for the entire ride. It was like riding a roller coaster with Ned Flanders.”
All of these gems above? Me. All me. (I made the Ned Flanders crack just last week at Wonderland.)
Just the other day I asked my husband to toss me the TV remote. He threw it and it landed on the ottoman just shy of my spot on the couch.
“Thanks, Susan,” I remarked sarcastically in response to his rather “girlie” throw.
I’m the mother of a girl who is both tough and tender. She absolutely throws like a girl—a girl with an arm of steel and freaky good precision. And she definitely runs like a girl — quick and determined.
Clearly me, and other adults who call their spouses “Susan” and make jokes about men who scream like girls are part of the problem here. We are supposed to be role models. As the parent of a child with special needs, I should know better. I should BE better.
If we expect our girls to grow up to be confident women and our sons to be respectful men, we need to can the jokes and show our kids the truth—that girls and boys are uniquely strong and capable.
My favourite line in Like A Girl comes at the end. “Why can’t run like a girl also mean win the race?”
Did she run like a girl? Yup. Fast and fierce.