Acting ‘like a girl” should not be an insult

Back in May of 2014, Always and its parent company, P&G, conducted a study surveying 1,300 American women between the ages of 16 and 24 years old, and the findings are striking: More than half of girls said they experienced a drop in confidence at puberty, and an overwhelming 89 percent agreed that words can be incredibly harmful for self-confidence. Only 19 percent had a positive association with the phrase ‘like a girl’— but more than half (57 percent) think there should be a movement to change the negative perception of the phrase.

That’s where this video comes in. Directed by documentarian and photographer Lauren Greenfield, it shows what happens when individuals are asked to do specific actions “like a girl.” At first, the responses are disheartening: Older girls and women asked to “run like a girl” flailed their arms, locked their knees together, and pasted big, silly grins on their faces. A boy asked to “fight like a girl” enacted a stereotypical cat fight. Everyone asked to “throw like a girl” stuck their elbows to their sides, put no energy behind the throw, and gave up easily.

But then came the actual girls — girls between the ages of five and 13. They gave the actions their all, running, fighting, throwing, and kicking with the best of them. One little girl when asked, “What does it mean to you when I say, ‘run like a girl?’” answered, “It means run as fast as you can.