I just saw the new P&G Super Bowl ad, “Like a Girl.” Wow! How cool is that? Talk about women empowering women. 🙂
The video, by Lauren Greenfield, Sundance Film Award-winner, asks, “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?” Always Brand Director Amanda Hill hopes this is the first of what will be a long-running campaign to change what “like a girl” means. Plus advertising, of course. LOL.
We see all these images of teenage girls and a boy when asked, making fun of how girls run, throw, and fight. Really namby-pamby skipping, tossing, arms aflutter fighting.
The most telling part though was the pre-adolescent boy who did all those things. And then when asked, “Do you think you just insulted your sister?”
“No,” he said, and then shook his head. “I mean, yeah, insulted girls but not my sister.”
Quite telling. Goes back to the idea of once you personalize what you hate, make fun of, or are against, the whole discussion changes.
One thing we know for true is that pre-adolescent girls brim with confidence. Even more so than their boy counterparts. Girls in the magic of childhood believe they can do anything. And without the sexualized self-esteem issues that rear their ugly heads in puberty, girls succeed.
We know that girls’ math scores are actually better than boys’ before puberty.
We also know that once puberty hits, the confidence ratio flips, and with that, those math scores, et al. Boys become more confident, higher achievers, etc., and girls, less.
Some of this perhaps has always been true, as teenagers grapple with the stressors of normal adolescents. We don’t know that for sure.
But what we do know is that our culture’s sexualization of young girls is having traumatic effects. None of us ever looked like Barbie. And although she’s pretty to young girls, that image carries with them into adolescents and does a horrible number on their psyches.
Just think of all the future doctors, lawyers, scientists who lose their nerve while trying to achieve the perfect figure, face, hair at 13 years of age. All of a sudden they go from competitors with boys to competitors with each other for boys’ attentions. Which has the effect of putting them ‘one down’ in the actual arena with boys to begin with.
Is this what you want for your daughters?
Females are worth more than their breeding capacities. Only the most fundamentalist among us would argue that point. So why do we allow our culture to sexualize young girls to the point that the statement holds value? Because that’s what we’re doing.
Actions do speak much louder than words . . .
Bravo to P&G. I know they’re selling a product, but at long last, women are in roles of marketing power. Without that, this ad wouldn’t have been possible.
And even today, when a woman is in power, she is criticized about things that have nothing to do with her job—in ways men never are. For example, Marissa Mayer, who became CEO of Yahoo! in her 30s. She was pregnant at the time, and one of the first conversations was how she would be both CEO and mother. These criticisms came mostly from other women. We can be our own worst enemies . . .
At least now we’re having the conversation—one I’ve been having for decades. LOL. But now even the Super Bowl culture, which includes, oh, everybody in the Universe? is having it.
It’s time for a hard look at how we treat our girls.
How do you inspire change?