Like a Girl!
Growing up I was the “boy” in my family. What I mean is that being one of three daughters, I was the tomboy. I didn’t want to wear dresses, putting a ponytail in my hair was a challenge, and frequently my friends were boys. When it came time to do stereotypically boy chores, guess who got them; me! From time to time it was said that I was the boy. Somehow I never minded. I never questioned why those things were labeled boy.
As I became older though, I started minding when I was told I was doing something “like a girl.” It was an insult! And everyone (from parents to peers, male or female) said it at some point. They wanted you to do something better or stronger or with less emotion.
There is a campaign that I’ve seen a few times before that I love. Check it out: http://always.com/en-us/about-us/our-epic-battle-like-a-girl
One video I especially love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs
Here it asks people to perform a task like a girl. When I first watched it, I saw what I expected to see-people acting all wimpy (I almost wrote girly-how bad it that) and sub par. It made me a little sad and mad but then we see some awesome young girls. They perform they best they can. And I’m sure their best is better than some boys.
The video asks when did saying something was “like a girl” became an insult. I say that doesn’t even matter. What matters is how we can make it stop.
I make an effort with all three of my children (two girls and a boy) to have equal opportunity for activities, chores, toys, etc. I also watch how I talk around them. I have been guilty of saying “Don’t act girly.” I’m making an effort to stop. It is hard when I’ve grown up with hearing girl used negatively, but I have to try. We all have to try.
I want my children to be strong, independent, individuals and to go after whatever they want. I don’t want my girls to suffer the same fate as many adolescent and teenage girls do; that of low self esteem. Once puberty kicks in, girls self esteem tends to drop. They also tend to drop out of activities due to this. I’m betting one cause is feeling that being “like a girl” is bad. Help me to change that!
Stefanie F. Pisarkiewicz, LPC
Experience and information from a counselor and mother- sharing her two cents on children and teens.