Do You Wish You Can Do It #LikeAGirl?!
Did you watch Super Bowl XLIX? Depending on the team you were rooting for, it was one of the most marvelous or heart-wrenching game in NFL history. Yet during that Super Bowl only two other things mattered other than the final score; the halftime show and the commercials.
Out of all the awesome million dollar, male audience driven, ad time slots during Super Bowl XLIX there was only one of true global impact, and it was for feminine hygiene products – “ALWAYS pads” – at best a bizarre product to be featuring during the Super Bowl!
During the initial frames of the commercial young, teenage female and male participants were asked to do simple action tasks, such as throwing a ball or running, in the way they believed girls would do them (eg. run like a girl would). All the participants performed limply or with less conviction than a male counterpart would be expected to. It was painful to watch. In truth though, I am not sure I would have performed the unscripted task any differently when posed the task… profoundly disturbing when I think about it and leading to the still social norm/opinion that as women we still view ourselves as more the “feebler sex” (of which I am still guilty of that point of view sometimes).
Fast forward in the commercial: when really young female participants (girls under probably 12 years old) were asked to perform the same tasks. Without hesitation they acted with all of the strength and effectiveness they could bring to their task. They put energy and conviction into their demonstration – they ran full on, they threw hard, they committed to the action and really went for it!
So what potentially happens at puberty? This was the underlying question that director Lauren Greenfield bumped into. What are we teaching our upcoming young leaders? How do we continue to ask the tough questions and keep the conversation going past this commercial?
Here is another profound realization: the commercial was originally aired in June of 2014 and yet it was chosen to re-air during one of the biggest purported male bastions of strength (Super Bowl XLIX) – after the hashtag #LikeAGirl seized feminist twitter feeds around the world.
So why now is it making a huge viral wave? Because now it has the attention of not just women, yet also men – both in a good and in a negative way.
Let’s look at a couple reasons men should still feel sidelined over the hashtag #LikeAGirl:
1. #LikeABoy will never be as powerful:
Unfortunately, all masculine pronouns already hold much more of a significant amount of power in society opposed to feminine pronouns. After the #LikeAGirlcampaign aired, ‘meninists’ took to Twitter to promoting #LikeABoy as a response.
Although it was a global trending topic, the hashtag will never be viewed as something positive or socially uplifting. It only furthers cement the pompous and chauvinistic ideals that #LikeAGirl and commercial are fighting against.
2. It created a dialogue about women in a way that may men feel they need to defend themselves:
There’s a saying that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”, meaning any and all publicity is purportedly good publicity. Because women and men are having a conversation over the commercial shows the real power of the ad.
There wasn’t a shred of negativity about the #LikeAGirl commercial pointed only at men, yet some men are completely up in arms about it. Why? They took to Twitter trashing the ad as if it was an attempt to demasculinize them, yet it just shows those men that they missed the meaning:
The ad isn’t meant to divide the sexes yet unite us as equals.
3. It’s forcing men to share their success. Success = money.
If there’s one thing men seem to have trouble doing it’s sharing. #LikeAGirl is forcing men to share the bone of success, and they’re not looking forward to it. The hashtag and commercial are pushing for female equality, which is forcing a continued conversation that society still doesn’t view women in an equal light. The USA still doesn’t have an ‘equal pay for equal work’ law… even in 2015!!
The gist: According to iSpot.tv the sixty second #Always ad was considered one of the most successful of SB XLIX pulling over 2.5 million views. The conversation has started – let’s keep it going!
(image source: thelala.com)
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