It seems appropriate that a video asking what it means to do something “like a girl” is from a maxi-pad company. There is nothing more feminine than having our periods, after all. Even the brand name, Always, suggests trust because of the consistency and dependability of the single word moniker. I will be with you Always. You will have your period Always.
So when Always released a video titled #LikeAGirl showing male and female actors auditioning with directions to do a number of activities “like a girl” juxtaposed with girls receiving the same instructions, cyberspace noticed. At least my mom friends noticed. The video raises the question of how we use that phrase and the implicit or explicit messages it sends our daughters (and our sons, too!).
I recognize this two minute edited cyber-commercial for Always is just that - video the marketing team hoped moms like me would share on Facebook (which we quickly did).
Here’s what stood out from this video: the actors (both men and women) portrayed silly stereotypes, caricatures, that felt outdated and forced. The girls in the video didn’t put on any forced airs, they were comfortable with the title “girl”.
When I talk with my girls about being a girl (or a woman because let’s be serious we are big versions of our girl-selves) I’m careful about the ways that I talk and the messages they receive. My girls aren’t handed stereotypes in our house (with the exception of a few shows they like to watch). But I’m not going out of my way to make Girl Power a rally cry either. I don’t use language that is weak or timid. I try not to use words like “always” and “never.” I don’t want my girls to feel like they need to PROVE anything. That they can simply be who they were made to be. I don’t make it a point to say girl’s AREN’T weak, because guess what? In lots of ways we are. Because we are human. We are sensitive. I overheard one of my daughters this week tell someone she’s seen Daddy cry once (at a friend’s funeral) but Mommy cries all the time. I don’t try to fight that I am emotional. IT IS WHO I AM. Is it because I’m a woman? I don’t know, but I suspect that’s part of it. But we don’t jump to those conclusions in our house that all girls are wired the same way I am. We don’t use one girl’s (or mom’s) experience as the standard for her sisters. Because, to be a girl takes many forms. As many as there are girls in the world.
Here is what I want my four daughters to know about being a girl, girls are made in God’s image and therefore wonderful (as are boys BTW). Delicate or sturdy. Gentle or rough. Quiet or loud. God made my daughters girls, and he made them unique.
We can be confident in how he crafted each of us. And yes, I say we. Because I am my daughters’ number one model of what it means to be a girl. If I embrace who I am as a woman through self-acceptance rather than self-deprecation, through humor rather than sarcasm, through celebration rather than degradation, I am modeling that to be a girl is a good thing.
So Darling, here’s to being a mom #LikeAGirl.
As a mom to four girls, ages 11, 8, 4 and 2, Alexandra Kuykendall is offered daily doses of the ludicrous and sublime. She is the author of this year’s MOPS International theme book, The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir and is the Mom and Leader Content Editor for the organization. This means she reads a lot and writes when she can. But don’t be fooled by long and fancy titles, most of Alex’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. You can connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.
Inspired by the (in)courage community, this tote bag expresses heartfelt thoughts on community with a delightfully designed word cloud Thess 5:11