How to Run "Like a Girl"
Tags: children/youth, gender, marketing/brands, sports, femininity, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: In the beginning of this video, teenage girls and boys are asked to perform certain actions "like a girl." For example, they are asked to run like a girl and throw like a girl. Both the girls and boys adopt stereotypical behaviors. Then younger girls are asked to illustrate these actions, but they perform as they normally would (e.g. running as fast as they can). Both the teenagers and younger children are asked to reflect on what it means to do something "like a girl" and if it is a good or bad thing. They offer very insightful comments and come to acknowledge the negative connotations of doing something "like a girl." Finally, they offer alternative and positive meanings for doing something like a girl, arguing that it is a natural thing to be a girl and to do things as a girl. Along the way, captions (from the corporate sponsor, Always) note that a girl's confidence drops during puberty, and that we must make "like a girl" have positive meanings. The clip is an interesting way to engage a common expression, that is often taken for granted, and to show how cultural meanings get assigned to gender in a way that is very harmful. Specifically, it shapes how meanings of sport, athleticism, and physical activity are gendered, and suggest how they lead to certain gender inequalities. The clip can also be explored from an economic sociology perspective in terms of branding and marketing. This sort of advertisement is outside the traditional form of advertising, but is an example of a growing trend in which corporations address social issues in their communications as part of their branding strategy. For another example, see this Dove Evolution commercial and a critical analysis of it. Similarly, viewers might further reflect critically on Always' depiction of gender, femininity, and girls' bodies in this ad. Thanks to Abi Horvat for suggesting this clip!
Submitted By: Paul Dean
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