Like A Girl

Yesterday I tweeted the YouTube video below. A young woman who is a student in our geosciences department brought it to my attention. I had never seen it before, but now that I have I cannot stop thinking about it. Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs&feature=youtu.be

It was directed by Lauren Greenfield, an amazing woman, who you can check out here:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1132362/ or

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-Greenfield/91411195112

It is somewhat ironic that this particular young woman brought this stunning video to my attention, as she has discussed with me one of the sentiments of the video, which is that girls are often viewed as weaker when it comes to running, fighting, throwing, being leaders, etc. This young woman was in the military and led her platoon, and they did not like it. They gave her hell. She kept doing it, because she knew she was good at it. And now, she is making her way in science because she loves science and wants to be a scientist. Her parents weren’t scientists. Nobody told her to be a scientist. She wants to be, so she will be. Being a leader in the military is #LikeAGirl. Doing science is #LikeAGirl. So there.

I love how the #LikeAGirl video brings to the fore the fact that everything a girl does is “like a girl.” Duh. Saying I run like a girl is like saying you respirate like a human being.  Duh.  The video also makes the viewer ponder why that is a bad thing. The young girls in the video recognize that “like a girl” is not a compliment. I was shocked to see the grown women imitating the asinine stereotypes of running like a girl, and fighting like a girl, and throwing like a girl. Even the young boy knows he is insulting girls (but not his sister). Ah. So it is ok to insult girls in general, but it doesn’t apply if the girl is your family member. This seems to be a pervasive attitude. I love how as this young boy is saying, “No, well, yes…” he is realizing, at that moment, on camera, that what he is doing is insulting to girls, and oh shit, I have a sister…I better address that! The poor kid. I don’t think he meant to insult his sister. But it is extremely clear that #LikeAGirl means something to him, and apparently everyone else, that is inherently insulting.  Whether it is intentional or not, saying #LikeAGirl evokes a very unfavorable vibe.

In other words, if you are a girl, your very existence is a joke. The way you do things is fodder for negative stereotypes. All because you are a girl.  Have we as a species gone absolutely insane?  This is bananas.

From “feminism,” to “like a girl,” and “don’t be such a girl,” there is a scary trend of negativity surrounding anything that seems to be girl related. I love that this video, in its own small way, is trying to change the tone of “like a girl” to mean something positive, strong, and kick ass. Girls’ confidence plummeting during puberty is something I can attest to first hand. I have felt it. I have seen it in other young girls. My friends have shared with me their experiences of losing their confidence around middle school. I distinctly remember thinking I was really smart prior to about sixth grade, and then doubting that I was anywhere near as smart as my male counterparts from middle school on. For me it persisted through college, and graduate school, and even into my adult life, until I got to the point where I just didn’t give a shit anymore. (I am forty years old and this only just happened very recently) I have no doubt that this drop in confidence is real for girls, it is disheartening for girls, it is devastating for some girls, and it is something we need to work on not just as moms or aunts or sisters or friends, but as a society. As humans. Male or female, young or old, we need to rewrite the meaning of “Like A Girl.”

And so, here are some pretty damn awesome things I have seen recently that I think of when we say, “Like A Girl.” These are just a few to whet your whistle. There are so many ways that #LikeAGirl means something absolutely freaking incredible.  If you know of more, share them with me in the comments below!

This is what it means to do science #LikeAGirl

http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/and-the-grand-prize-winners-of-the-google-science-fair-2014-are/

This is what it looks like to do field work #LikeAGirl

Doing field work in cold, blowing wind at 16,000 feet elevation in Tibet.

Doing field work in cold, blowing wind at 16,000 feet elevation in Tibet.

This is what it means to dance #LikeAGirl (don’t mess with Misty)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MA

This is what it means to surf #LikeAGirl

http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/en/brianna-cope

This is what it means to throw #LikeAGirl

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/16/sports/baseball/mone-davis-dominates-at-little-league-world-series.html?_r=0

This is what it looks like to adventure #LikeAGirl

Hiking into the impenetrable forest in Uganda, to track mountain gorillas.

Hiking into the impenetrable forest in Uganda, to track mountain gorillas.

This is what it means to address the United Nations #LIkeAGirl

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/21/emma-watson-gender-equality_n_5858206.html

And guess what…THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO DO MATH LIKE A FREAKING GIRL!

http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/13/tech/innovation/first-woman-highest-math-prize/index.html

In my opinion, #LikeAGirl is a high honor, and is becoming even more so as women find more ways to be seen, heard, and recognized. If I am doing something any other way than like a girl, I am not doing it right. I am a girl. I love being a girl. I live #LikeAGirl and I am rocking it #LikeAGirl. And so is every other girl on the planet.

Because being a girl means you live #LikeAGirl, and that is a beautiful, strong, tough, intelligent, creative, emotional, insightful, intense, caring, truthful, brave, gracious, unbreakable, and amazing way to live.

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By | 2016-07-19T22:14:29+00:00 September 25th, 2014|Categories: Womanhood, Women In Science|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Jess Kapp is a geologist, educator, and writer. She teaches geology at the University of Arizona, where she is a senior lecturer and the associate department head in the department of geosciences. Her memoir, Girl on the Roof of the World, is about her life-changing experience as the lone woman in a group of six traveling into the remote interior of Tibet on a three-month research expedition.

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