Superbowl commercial ignites feminist media fever

By Monica Rodriguez

For decades, the term “like a girl” has been used when describing a person who is perceived as weak or wimpy. Suring the 2015 Superbowl, Always, a company that sells feminine hygiene products, aired a commercial emphasizing this issue.

The commercial starts off with the director asking young women and men to do a certain action “like a girl.” Those people proceeded to run, throw and hit with their hands flailing around and arms swinging wildly. Then, young girls were asked to do the same. The girls sprinted across the set. “What does ‘run like a girl’ mean to you?” the director asked them. One of the girls replied, “It means to run as fast as you can.”

The commercial ends with the message that Always wants the term “like a girl” to mean amazing things rather than be used as an insult.

Always brand director Amanda Hill told Advertising Age: “Really the goal is to turn the phrase ‘like a girl’ from being an insult to being a real compliment and boost to self-confidence. We’re hoping we can really start a movement.”

And start a movement they did. Almost immediately after the commercial aired, the hashtag #LikeAGirl started trending on Twitter. Supportive tweets flooded the social media site, focusing on encouraging girls to do things such as play sports or become engineers and providing many examples. Countless women have contributed to the media fever by tweeting how being women in their careers as teachers, business owners and scientists has allowed them to break stereotypes and prove the people who doubted them wrong.

Though there are millions of supporters for the #LikeAGirl campaign, there are also many who oppose. A counter campaign, #LikeABoy, started trending soon after the ad aired, in which self-proclaimed meninists (a word coined to mock feminists) express their opinions such as how they believe the Always commercial was unfair because it only applies to females. These menisists claim that by trying to empower women, we are no longer promoting equality.

Although there are people who oppose the #LikeAGirl movement, the overall impact of it has been a positive one. Freshman Daniel Reyes said: “I really admired this commercial. I’m glad young women and women in general are showing how strong they are. I believe women are strong too, not only men.”

Freshmen Jonathan Pulgarin and Maria Tiscareño both spoke out on the use of the term “like a girl” as an insult. Pulgarin said: “Girls shouldn’t be isolated because of the gender rule. If they want to do something that guys do, let them. Just because they are girls does not mean they are incompetent of doing activities men do.”

Tiscareño said: “My personal opinion is that it depends on how you view the world…if you can run fast or fight tough then the ‘like a girl’ cliché doesn’t apply…Show them how it’s done.”