Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Like a girl

My family are Southern.  It has always amazed me that people have the stereotype of Southern women that they are fainting, helpless, delicate creatures.  In my experience, quite the opposite is true.  I don't say that any of them keep a Confederate pistol under her blankets like the fictional Mrs. Dubose of To Kill a Mockingbird, but I wouldn't put it past them!  So, having the task of raising a girl before me, this caught my interest:
If you tell Lauren Greenfield that she runs or fights or talks "like a girl," she'll probably say thank you. After all, she is responsible for the fact that over 13 million people are now reconsidering what that phrase really means.
The subject at hand is a PSA that asks people - including young girls - to perform various actions "like a girl".  While older people of both sexes demonstrated stereotypes when asked to run or throw or fight like a girl, younger girls performed the actions in (for want of a better term) a normal manner.

So, how shall I teach my daughter to:

Run like a girl:

Florence Griffith Joyner (1959 - 1998); fastest woman in the world

Fight like a girl:

SGT Leigh Ann Hester, USA.  Silver Star, Iraq, June 2005
Drive like a girl:

Shirley Muldowney, "First Lady of Drag Racing"

Fly like a girl:

Hazel Ying Lee, first Chinese-American woman pilot, later WAAF

Do math and science like a girl:

Dr. Chien-Shiun Wu, "First Lady of Physics"

Lead like a girl:

Elizabeth I

Show courage like a girl:

Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize 1991

And, OF COURSE, shoot like a girl:


  1. Excellent! An excellent post indeed!

  2. What is sad is when you do act like a strong woman than they call you the B word or bossy!

    1. That's true. I suggest two causes:

      1. Cultural norm / stereotype that, as you say, means that "strong woman" = "b!tch"

      2. Different communication styles between the sexes

  3. I saw that video this morning and love your response to it. "Run like a girl" should not be an insult! There's nothing wrong with being a girl. :)