Even if you’re (like me, and) not into football, you may have still been in a room with a TV, during the Super Bowl. You may have caught some of the famed commercials, including another classic Budweiser tear-jerker, “lost dog.” As much as I appreciate Budweiser for producing these gems, and for their cooperation in my earlier blog entries, getting to know “Sparky” of the St. Louis hitch, and his handler, Kat, there was another commercial I took a surprising interest in…
Always, known for their line of feminine hygiene products, introduced their campaign, #likeagirl. http://www.always.com/en-us/likeagirl.aspx
Historically, “like a girl” has carried an insulting connotation. Tack it on to the end of a sentence remarking on the ability of any boy or man, and you’ve cut them, deeply. Kudos to Always, for taking this once, salty slam, and turning it into someone girls and women everywhere can claim with pride.
Bob Thaves I think, may have actually started the movement many years ago with his remark [About Fred Astaire] “Sure he was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!” Rosie the Riveter was a cultural icon in the US during WWII, reminding all our men away at war, that the ladies had a fine handle on things back at home.
When you’re an equestrian, and a female particular, it’s quite common to have to take on roles that are traditionally held by men. That’s not to say that barns are the only place this is happening, and has been for quite some time either. It makes me think of when a man is put on a pedestal, for taking responsibility for his children. For some reason, when a man is seen with his kids in public, the general consensus is, “how great is that, he’s stepping up and being a daddy.” Why is that? He IS their daddy, why are we throwing a parade in his honor? For years after I first got my license, and would drive our truck, sometimes even now, I would and still get the odd gawker. It’s usually another man, often also in a truck, who seems genuinely taken aback that I’m behind the wheel of my own truck. You should see me jockey a horse trailer boys! After commenting on a #likeagirl discussion on Facebook with Kat from Budweiser, she posted a photo of herself at the wheel of one of their tractor-trailer rigs, during a Sturgis bike rally. I think that’s exactly the kind of spirit Always had in mind.
In the horse world, we not only shop for our own trucks (without our husband’s/father’s/boyfriend’s approval, thankyouverylittle), and pull our own trailers that we can hook up and park all by ourselves. We can also drive farm equipment and bale hay. I recall one afternoon on the Standardbred farm, during hay season, where between the horse-women and the maintenance men, a wagon-stacking competition manifested itself. The guys blazed through the rows, stacking as fast as they could, while we sang along with the radio in the truck, and enjoyed our task. The guys finished their row as we pulled around the last corner to finish ours, beginning their victory celebration… when their stack wobbled, and tumbled off the wagon. They fumed, we laughed, and helped them re-stack the pile.
When I hear the phrase, like a girl, it makes me think of another way of another way of doing things. Sometimes it’s with more finesse, sometimes it’s from a creative angle, but never in a derogatory way, and I’m so glad Always is working to turn the meaning into a positive message.
I like that I do things like a girl, I am one after all, I should be pretty proficient at it by now! Don’t get me wrong, there’s still much to be said for the men who open doors, remember important dates, and tell the women in their lives how beautiful they are. I’ll never grow tired of that. From what I’ve seen of the world, maybe another movement needs to get rolling, “#likeagentleman.” It’s okay for girls and women to FEEL like girls and women, we should never be scolded or looked down upon for being who and what we are, we should be celebrated for all the amazing things that encompass our abilities to do anything “like a girl.”
It’s true, when I dance with a man, I still try to lead (which I blame on working part time in a ballroom studio for a couple of years, not because I’m bossy!). I’m as comfortable in a room full of men, as I am in a room full of women. I walk exactly the same whether I’m wearing boots, or 4” heels. I don’t look for a fight, but I won’t back down from one. I wear makeup to the barn, and shop at Victoria’s Secret in Carhartts and flannel. Being a girl has served me well in my 37 plus years, and I can’t imagine doing things any other way.