I'll Always Do Things #LikeAGirl, You Mad?
When one thinks of the phrase like a girl, stereotypes and less than behaviors come to mind.
I know I’m not the only one who has imagined lack of competition and silliness when this phrase is mentioned. Yes, I admit it—I’m guilty of this. Unh huh. Me, a girl who fights against those very stereotypes, I will not sit here and say the thought of doing something like a girl entices fierce, victorious imagery, because I would be lying.
But, why is that? Why does like a girl evoke lack of competition and silliness? When did it become an insult?
Now ladies, I do not think the actual action of doing something like a girl equates to doing something less than the male counterpart. No, I know better than to think such nonsense. When I say I’m guilty, I mean my imagination is guilty.
Or in other words, I have yet to successfully re-program my mind to visualize the greatness that really takes place when a girl shows us how it’s done.
For example, when I hear snide remarks like, “Wow, could you have done that any more like a girl,” or “Bruh, you hit like a girl!” I instantly visualize that particular action being done in a helpless or weak fashion.
This is because Like a Girl is a widely misused simile. One of which I personally learned its connotative meaning at a very young age. Perhaps there are a few of you too who can agree that many (especially us 80’s babies and older) are raised with a not-so-positive reflection of what doing something like a girl looks like.
It’s possible I picked up on the imagery during a childhood interaction I overheard between my father and brothers (there were many of these). Or maybe I learned it at school during physical education or mathematics class (both of which boys supposedly dominate, so they say). Or could it have been programmed in me via the many hours of television watching (this one sounds about right). But my answer is “D”, all of the above.
However, through personal experiences and having been around some great, strong women, I am aware that women in general are versatile and results-oriented. So why is it that I still have this misconstrued image of what like a girl really looks like? I’m not entirely sure, but I do know there is hope.
Despite my awareness of what like a girl insinuates, I am confidently knowledgeable that doing something like a girl can not only mean doing something amazingly, but also suggest doing that something with style and grace.
The media still perpetuates negative imagery for what doing something like a girl looks like today. It has trickled out into our households, places of business, sports arenas and many other platforms. It is used to describe an action seen as mediocre or poorly performed. Surprisingly (but thankfully so), it is not defined in the urban dictionary.
Now here’s my objective, bias opinion. A girl’s way of doing something is not less than a guy’s way of doing the same task. Often times, girls excel and even figure out a better, more efficient way to get the job done. If you asked me, I think guys should think twice before throwing themselves in opposition of a woman. I believe in the old saying: ‘anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you!’ *sneeringly sticks tongue out. But I digress.
My point is, the like a girl expression has a nasty, man-made underlying meaning—one that is demeaning, objectifying and irritably unacceptable to the female gender.
And to prove as much, Always™, a company known largely for its manufacture of feminine products, set out to debunk the sexist phrase. This pursuit brought about this cool, creatively produced commercial-length video that makes us think twice about what it means to do something #LikeAGirl (check out Always’ hashtag on twitter).
The video reminds us how a girl running, for example, should not instantly correlate with failing or sucking nor should it be confused with exerting little to no effort (I’m sure track-runner Carmelita Jeter would agree). And doing something like a girl, for instance throwing a ball, should not be stereotyped as doing it in a cute, submissive manner. I mean, hello, anyone remember 13-year-old Mo’Ne Davis? Yea, she did that… And doing something like a girl…well watch the video and be reminded by 10-year-old normal, everyday girls what doing something like a girl really looks like.
You know what, before I shut-up and allow the video to play…I think it’s time that we amend our ‘manual’s of manners’ with the correct denotation of the like a girl idiom. It’s time to preach its real meaning to the younger generations. And even time for us older folks to get with it—learn from these 10 year-old, CEOs-to-be. Its time we re-program our minds to see excellence when like a girl is lackadaisically thrown around in public and in private.
So the next time you hear your spouse say, “Jr., come on now! You’re hitting it like a girl!” You look your handsome son in his eyes (with a smile) and you tell him, “Oh no son, you must’ve got those skills from your daddy. ‘Cause doing something like a girl means breaking barriers, conquering new territory and inventing new and improved methods. So if you want to do it like a girl, all it takes is a little more effort, until you get it. Better yet, just put your foot in’ it…”
Source: Growing Daily Blog
Qui (qu*ee) is a sweets-addict, fashion lover and creativity junkie. She has a Double B.A. in Design and Communication from the University of California, Davis. You can find her in Starbucks working on Ce’Marie, her girl-power and confidence-oriented children's picture book series—or, if you prefer to browse & read, visit Qui on cemarieworld.com and over on her personal blog, thegrowingdaily.wordpress.com. Qui believes Black girls are fly because we are resilient, fabulous and resourceful. We are royalty; what people pay for in diamonds, we already possess.