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 (@mayaahutchh) February 2, 2015
— Tamar Bains (@Bainst06) February 2, 2015
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.)
#LikeABoy because equality matters
— Meninist (@MeninistTweet) February 2, 2015
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.
People up in arms over #LikeAGirl commercial.What's so wrong with telling little girls they can do anything regardless of what society says?
— shanscanalist (@Shansdoe) February 2, 2015
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:
Ladies, if someone says you do something #LikeAGirl, don't get offended. Go out and show the world that girls can do awesome things!
— Miss Conservative (@conserv_miss) February 2, 2015
— Rick Ramsey (@OldManRamsey) February 2, 2015
Doing things #LikeAGirl shouldn't be an insult. Girls and women are strong, smart, and gorgeous. Be proud.
— coco buttah (@shaymitchnyc) February 2, 2015
— Leah Majeski ✌️ (@BamaGirl9er) February 2, 2015
the #LikeAGirl commercial was meant to bring girls up, not put boys down. it's about equality between genders, not females being superior
— jules (@theroIlingstone) February 2, 2015
— D L F (@DLF_2012) February 2, 2015
Pretty sure the idea behind the #LikeAGirl campaign wasn't to divide, but to bring everyone closer together... Let's not argue.
— Alexander William (@AlexAllTimeLow) February 2, 2015
— Jennifer Fenton (@jenfen7) February 2, 2015
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.
the difference between like a boy and like a girl is that "#LikeABoy" has never been used as a generalized insult against men.
— jae (@idkjae) February 2, 2015
— Michael Moccio (@MiMoccio) February 2, 2015
— Charles Clymer (@cmclymer) February 2, 2015
#LikeABoy is proof that a mans ego is so fragile that when we try to encourage young girls to be confident it intensely bothers them
— brenny b raps (@corndognugget) February 2, 2015
So, to sum it up:
To boys making fun of the #LikeAGirl commercial: I hope God blesses you with a baby girl and I wanna see you tell her what shes incapable of
— laur (@laurrlaurrrrr) February 2, 2015