Watching the explosion of the #alsicebucketchallenge (which I’ll come back to in a blog post soon) has made me ponder on recent social media campaigns. By far the most thought provoking for me has been #LikeAGirl which was launched by Always.
Though not a charity or technically seen as a ‘campaigning’ activity because it was launched by a feminine products brand, it is relevant, powerful and hits a incredibly raw emotional nerve.
After contrasting post-puberty females’ and males’ stereotypes associated with the phrase “Like a girl”, with younger girls’ more positive interpretations, the video dissects the socialisation of women to feel weak as a norm. Frightening and illuminating stuff.
Surely it makes you ask, is this how your sisters, daughters, nieces feel?
I think what I found most shocking about this is not only has this messaging, this misogyny, been accepted into the lexicon of society but into the thinking of women and perhaps most frighteningly, girls.
I found myself reflecting on my own use of language and though I consider myself a feminist I know that I too am guilty, occasionally of using such phrases as “You big girl!” as a teasing but undoubtedly derogatory term. I tried to comfort myself that the phrase is short hand for ‘You big girl’s blouse!’ but it is cold comfort…
I have subsequently promised myself and women everywhere never to use any such term as derogatory. I know that as a woman I have a responsibility to support, protect and champion women whenever I can. (Men too, I’m not sexist, but watch the video.) I believe that we all do.
I’m delighted that the empowering message of this video propelled it the number one most viral video the first week it was released. And that between June 26 and July 7 #LikeAGirl garnered 101,679 posts/shares. Now that’s how to do social media #LikeAGirl
I’m also delighted that it struck such an emotional chord; that many girls, women and men mention crying when they watched it. But is that enough?
Can we all challenge ourselves to make sure we use the phrase ‘like a girl’ in an empowering, positive, encouraging and inspirational manner?