By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Recently Always aired an advertisement that sparked national debate about female empowerment and self-esteem. The advertisement seeks to rewrite the rules on how genders are perceived using the phrase ‘like a girl’ as an example – for example hitting ‘like a girl’. Instead of automatically assigning negative connotations to the term, the advertisement wants to change that, to teach young girls that doing something like a girl should not be perceived as something weak or negative.
Blogger Ilana, creator of the popular blog MommyShorts.com, loved message fully and asked her followers to submit photos of their daughters doing “all the amazing things daughters do” using the hashtag #likeagirl. And that’s when something even more amazing happened.
Not only did the blog overflow with photos of girls, but other parents posted pictures of their sons displaying their feminine side under the hashtag #likeaboy.
Because the other side of using the ‘like a girl’ terminology negatively is also telling boys what we think is right for little boys to do and how to act – and especially doing something that’s considered feminine is often not condoned nor encouraged when it comes to acting like a boy. So when we’re telling the little girls in our lives that they can do anything little boys do, and that they should be strong and confident, we shouldn’t forget to do the same for boys and encourage them to embrace their sensitive and nurturing sides as well.
The above photo was submitted by Heather Castic, a North Carolina mom. In it her two-year-old twin boys are playing princess with their older sister and are said to love dinosaurs just as much as tea parties. There are many more wonderful examples of boys doing typically “feminine” activities, like playing house, wearing princess dresses, and painting their nails, all posted with the hashtag #likeaboy on Mommyshorts.
Even though these kids are still in age of innocence it is important to consider what we teach them, because soon enough those terms of doing something ‘like a girl’ or ‘like a boy’ can mean something entirely different. Hopefully these photos will help future generations redefine how genders are viewed so the hashtag would be #likeakid.
The photo is being shown with the permission of Heather Castic.