Taking on Sexism “Like a Girl”

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Jordan Revenaugh

The Adams cross country girls oppose classic stereotypes for women

Jordan Revenaugh, Staff Writer

Picture this: a young boy is playing baseball with his older brother in the backyard. It’s midsummer. The sun shines down on the pair, illuminating their euphoric midday game of catch. The younger boy pulls back his arm, and releases the ball in one fluid motion. For a moment it flies gracefully through the air. The boy’s eyes light up as he watches it soar, but his smile loses its shine as the ball falls to the ground a mere five feet in front of him in a demoralizing defeat.

        His brother laughs and says, “You throw like a girl.”

It’s no secret the phrase “like a girl” possesses a negative connotation. It has been this way for as long as most people can remember. As it stands today, “like a girl” is an insult, yet, somehow, “like a man” is a portrayal of pride. All too similarly, claiming to be a feminist becomes all the more shameful each day as the insolent concept of “meninism” gains support.  The question is: Why?

Many would prefer to ignore the underlying problem and simply state that the offensive manner in which the phrase is used is an unimportant detail, and that the sudden rise of meninism is simply a joke which can be brushed off. After all, the two have seemingly no effect on today’s girls. They know better than to think that they are being targeted, right?

Yet, somehow, they don’t. According to the “#LikeAGirl” campaign by Proctor & Gamble’s Always product, a horrifying 72 percent of teenage girls report feeling limited by society, thanks in part to the constant use of the phrase “like a girl.”

This fact is not something to be ignored any longer. No matter how trivial it may seem, the gap between the meaning of “like a girl” and “like a man” speaks to the level of sexism which still remains, not only throughout the nation, but across the world.

In response, many young girls and women alike have taken to social media, attaching the hashtag “#LikeAGirl” to millions of Tweets and Instagram posts. It stands as an emblem that women across the nation will no longer tolerate the innate inequality represented by the phrase.

It is these same girls who have taken it upon themselves to fight against the debate over meninism, or the satirical movement calling for men’s rights. More accurately, however, it is simply a movement mocking feminism.

Not all feminists stand as the stereotypical radical woman who despises men and all forms of femininity, also known as “feminazis”. The reality of the matter is quite the contrary. Throughout the nation, and even here in the confines of Rochester Adams High School, exists a myriad of girls, as well as boys, who identify as feminists. All are different in almost every way imaginable, yet they stand for a common cause. In their minds, feminism does not insinuate female superiority; it simply means equality.

What is there to be mocked on the subject of equality?

These discouraging phrases and groups aimed at ridiculing the idea of equality are just two of the many reasons why girls today have hit such a low when it comes to self-esteem.

It is fairly easy to point out the many issues correlating with girls’ inequality and low self-worth throughout the world. What is more difficult, however, is finding a solution.

The solution stems from altering the classic notions that girls and boys have been taught from a young age.

It is a tale as old as time that the prince comes to the rescue of the helpless princess. Perhaps it’s time for society to start teaching the princess that she does not have to be helpless, nor must she wait for her perfect prince to come to the rescue. It’s time to start teaching her she is strong enough to save herself.