When Did the Phrase 'Like a Girl' Become an Insult? Check Out the New Ad Campaign that's Going Viral

I don't normally cry at ads. Especially ads for sanitary products. But I can't help it. I cried at this.

The idea is simple - it begins with a bunch of people, male and female, walking into a studio and being asked to run, walk, fight and throw like a girl. All of them do ridiculous flappy "girlish" movements. Then a bunch of young girls are asked to do the same thing. Their movements are strong and powerful - they're just throwing and running. When one little kid is asked what running like a girl means, she says it means to "run really fast". They're too young to know that doing something "like a girl" is meant to be an insult. But unfortunately, as the ad points out, they'll learn.

Then the original group are asked to reconsider their original interpretation of "like a girl".  At the end, one young woman says that if she was asked to "run like a girl" again, she'd just run like herself. The ad ends with her running powerfully, smiling, towards the camera. And I bawled.



The ad is part of Always' campaign to reclaim girlitude and to stop young girls - and boys - think that being a girl means being weak and ineffectual. Now, of course, Always are not a charitable foundation or social movement, they're a company that wants to sell stuff (and they're owned by a ginormous multinational, Procter and Gamble). And while they're right when they point out that girls' self-confidence plummets during puberty, another thing usually happens to girls during puberty, and it's something that just happens to require Always' own products. In fact, when you go to the Always website one of the first things you see is a link to their "Infinity Teen Sanitary Pads". Why do teens need different sanitary towels from, say, 30 somethings? I have no idea, because no explanation is given.

But anyway, I can't diss Always too much, not least because their products changed my teenage (menstrual) life when they introduced those wings back in the early 90s. Indeed I still regularly use their products to this day. So it would be slightly ridiculous of me to slam them as an evil corporation when I've been giving them money for about 20 years. And if evil corporations have to exist, I'd rather they made heartwarming, positive videos like this.


So what do you think of the ad? Did you remain dry eyed or did it make you tear up too? And would it make a difference if it were made by, say, a women's organisation rather than a big company?

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