Opinion

What it really means to be #LikeaGirl

Dear Always’ #LikeAGirl Campaign Creators,

I’m a 20-year-old female college student. I’m all for women’s rights and equality, but I have to say that the #LikeAGirl commercial during the Super Bowl has me a little on edge.

Here I am, watching a sport where all of the players are male, the coaches are male, and the overwhelming majority of NFL franchise owners are male. It is a sport unquestioningly dominated by men.

A feminine care company tells people that female’s self-esteem is destroyed during puberty, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Your commercial asks girls and boys to run, fight and throw “like a girl.” Three sports-related actions in theme with the Super Bowl.

First, your director asks post-pubescent girls and boys to imitate the actions, and then pre-pubescent boys and girls to do the same. Let’s just say the pre-puberty girls have yet to watch John Hughes’ movies and Clueless.

Let me start by stating, being #LikeAGirl has nothing to do with running, fighting and throwing. Let’s talk about what #LikeAGirl really entails.

In today’s society, #LikeAGirl, and eventually #LikeAWoman entails the following:

  • Acting like a lady
  • Dressing like a lady
  • Keeping the standards of traditional femininity
  • Being skilled in the bedroom, while still being a lady
  • Having the cooking skills of Rachel Ray, while
  • Obtaining a college degree
  • Not that she should finish with a Bachelor’s
  • But should go on for a Master’s, or maybe even a law or medical degree
  • While being able to find a suitor
  • Whose house she will be able to clean
  • While raising their three kids
  • And having to deal with paid/unpaid maternity leave
  • While maintaining a full-time job
  • While continuing to embark on a successful career
  • And making sure dinner is ready every night at 7 p.m. on the dot
  • While still staying in-shape, even as she nears 30, and then 40
  • While still entertaining her husband
  • And don’t forget taking care of the kids
  • Making their school lunches
  • Dropping them off at school
  • Going to work
  • Getting a promotion
  • Picking the kids up at school
  • And coming home and going to the gym
  • And then preparing dinner and taking a shower
  • And then listening to him snore
  • As she falls asleep
  • And then goes to tend to the child who woke up with a fever
  • And only gets three hours of sleep
  • Before she wakes up to do it all again the next day

Now, you see, nowhere in my 30 bullet points does #LikeAGirl entail running, fighting or throwing. While your effort to encourage young women to believe that they can in fact “do anything” is cute, it is futile.

You should show what it really is to be #LikeAGirl, because #LikeAGirl only turns into #LikeAWoman. So please, in the next public relations campaign for the next array of Super Bowl advertisements, show a scene where you ask little boys and girls what it is to “work like a woman,” “climb the corporate ladder like a woman,” or “raise a family and maintain a job like a woman.”

Surely these questions will not elicit the cutesy responses that your corporate feces public relations campaign intends, but at least it will not generate false hope in America’s young women. You’ll be showing them a glimpse of the cold, hard facts of being a woman in today’s society.

Your campaign does, in fact, coincide with the Super Bowl, but women aren’t expected to run, kick and fight like a girl.

We’re expected to conquer the world and kick butt all while exhibiting the outward appearance of Kate Middleton, who probably only completes three or four bullets on my list.

I really have no idea why your commercial affected me so much, nor why I sat down to write this letter in the fourth quarter of the 49th Super Bowl, but it’s time we start advertising the truth. That way, when we grow up, we won’t be so disappointed.

Sincerely,

You Can’t Have it All

Danielle Giovannitti is a sophomore majoring in political science and public relations.

 

Featured image courtesy Flickr user Steve Wilson

February 8, 2015

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Danielle Giovannitti


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