‘Like a Girl’ takes on sexist stereotypes

'Like a Girl' takes on sexist stereotypes

The typical feminine hygiene commercial consists of a radiant, smiling girl who is ice skating, dancing, or running track all while on her period. Despite the acne, the mood swings, and the cramps, our hero is able to overcome the struggles of her period with beauty and grace. What a role model – or so teen girls thought until the recent release of Always’ “Like a Girl” Super Bowl commercial.

In the ad, girls of different ages are asked to run, throw, and fight “like a girl.”

While younger girls perform these tasks to the best of their abilities, the older girls comically complete the actions in a helpless, ditzy fashion.

The commercial goes on to analyze how the phrase “like a girl” has transformed into an insult, which contributes to a drop in self-esteem that girls experience during puberty. The phrase is used in everyday conversation by both men and women, yet neither gender seems to be bothered by its negative connotation.

“[The commercial] made me think about the things that I say and how that stuff can offend others,” sophomore Leilani Lim said.

The Always campaign challenges females to redefine the phrase “like a girl” and advertises a new type of role model – a girl who exudes confidence and refuses to conform to societal expectations or stereotypes.
From commercials to apps to hashtags, a common theme of female empowerment is appearing on a variety of media platforms, receiving an overwhelmingly positive response.

“Tampon Run,” created by high school programmers Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser, is an app game that empowers girls to be proud of their visit from Aunt Flo.

With the goal of eliminating society’s menstruation and tampon taboo, the spunky female heroine races through the streets while throwing tampons at the misogynistic villains.

Gonzales and Houser notice that video game violence has become socially acceptable yet female menstruation is still an awkward and uncomfortable topic.

“Hopefully, one day menstruation will be as normal, if not more so, than guns and violence have become in our society,” the game informs players.

The trending Instagram hashtag “20 Beautiful Women” challenges girls to post a picture of themselves that shows their inner beauty.

The hashtag possibly originated from Saba Tekle’s book “20 Beautiful Women: 20 Stories That Will Heal Your Soul, Ignite Your Passion, and Inspire Your Divine Purpose,” which includes 20 stories that explain different interpretation of being a woman. The purpose of both the book and the hashtag is to encourage girls to look past physical beauty and appreciate internal qualities.

“I feel like girls normally pick pictures that show their outer beauty,” senior Erica Ramos said. “However, I believe [the hashtag] empowers women who have inner beauty to show it, not for likes or comments but to show that they themselves are beautiful.”

Ramos says that the Twenty Beautiful Women hashtag is empowering because it allows her to show her confidence. She tagged close friends who she felt exuded inner beauty, encouraging them to participate in the Instagram trend.

Junior Tanja Cira also participated in the Twenty Beautiful Women hashtag.

“I chose my picture because I personally liked it and I took it on Valentine’s Day,” Cira said. “It sends the message that you don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy. Every girl, no matter if in a relationship or not, can and should feel beautiful.”

Not only did it feel good to be tagged by close friends, but Cira also said that the hashtag was a nice and easy way for girls to support each other with thoughtful compliments.