The Reaction To #LikeAGirl Is Exactly Why It's So Important

02/03/2015 11:50 am ET | Updated May 03, 2016
YouTube.com

Out of all the controversial ads that aired during the Super Bowl, the one that may have spurred the most vocal backlash was the one that promoted gender equality.

The original "Like A Girl" spot, which first aired in June 2014, featured people being asked to throw, run and fight "like a girl." Instead of simply doing these actions, each person weakly reenacted them, by accidentally dropping the ball or slapping instead of punching. But when the same questions were asked of young girls, they threw, ran and fought aggressively -- like anyone would. The implication: To do something "like a girl" is to do it badly, but that negative connotation is something that is only learned over time. Therefore, it's something we can change.

The campaign received a lot of positive attention when it originally aired, but it wasn't until Sunday's shortened Super Bowl ad, which approximately 115 million people watched, that the Internet's resident haters really found their voices.

After the commercial aired during Sunday night's Super Bowl, women took to Twitter to describe what they did "like a girl" and how their gender doesn't stop them from being strong and powerful. #LikeAGirl started trending on Twitter in no time with tweets like these:

maya j/Twitter

Tamar Bains/Twitter

It wasn't long before a new hashtag cropped up -- #LikeABoy. In the past 24 hours, #LikeABoy started trending on Twitter as critics and self-proclaimed "meninists" discussed how unfair it was that the Always commercial only pertained to women. (Reminder: Always sells menstrual products.)

Many people were rightfully upset that a 60-second commercial devoted to building up young girls' self-esteem caused such a loud and hateful uproar. It doesn't seem too much to ask that one minute out of a four-hour event -- an event that primarily focuses on men -- be solely devoted to addressing women.

To all the "meninists" and people supporting them, let's be very clear: There are commercials that focus on female empowerment because females need to be empowered. Yes, it seems crazy that women -- a group of people that make up over half of the world's population -- are somehow underrepresented and oppressed. (Don't believe us? See here, here and here for examples.)

The focus on women cannot possibly compromise gender equality as the "meninists" claim, because gender equality simply does not exist yet. The phrase "like a girl" is similar to saying something is "gay" -- both are used in a derogatory manner. The terms "gay" and "girl" are not synonymous with being weak or stupid, these are identities.

So when someone uses these identifiers -- whether it's sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender -- as an insult, it becomes very problematic. Using the phrase "like a girl" as an insult is proof that sexism is still very much a part of our everyday culture.

#LikeAGirl is so important because it shines a much-needed light on this sexism and reminds everyone that being "like a girl" means being badass and fierce. To drive that point home, here are a few of our favorite #LikeAGirl tweets:

Rick Ramsey/Twitter

Leah Majeski/Twitter

D L F /Twitter

Jennifer Fenton/Twitter

People also started jumping on the #LikeABoy trend to show just how absurd it is for "meninists" to be complaining about the "Like A Girl" ad.

So, to sum it up:

Also on HuffPost:

#LikeAGirl Tweets

CONVERSATIONS