“Like a Girl”

With the political climate so incredibly charged today, more and more companies are being compelled to take a stand on issues important to society and make a statement. For example, during this year’s Super Bowl, Audi created a commercial with a feminist and gender equality theme. But before Audi, there was an Always commercial that tackled gender equality. In 2014, Always, a women’s feminine product company, created a commercial that aimed to empower girls and educate society about the battle to keep girls’ confidence high during puberty. The theme of the commercial centered on the phrase “like a girl”. While playing sports, the biggest insult you can give someone is that they “run like a girl” or “hit like a girl”. Telling someone they did something “like a girl” gave them the notion that doing something like a girl is wrong and inferior to doing it like a boy. Both the Always commercial and “Gender” by Erica Hately focus on the representations of gender within our society and our literature.

In her essay “Gender”, Erica Hately discusses how boys are usually presented as intelligent, leaders and dominant while girls are presented as followers and subordinate in children’s literature. This is prevalent in some of the literature we have already read in this class. For example, Two Hawks, in Kaya’s Story, assumed because he was the boy, he was the leader and in charge; he even made comments such as “men lead, women follow”. Because Kaya’s Story is a book generally read in girlhood, girls reading this book and other books like it are receiving a message early on that they are inferior to boys. However, this overall assumption of the inferiority of girls presented in children’s literature is directly being challenged by the Always’ commercial. When a variety of aged girls were asked to “run like a girl”, the younger girls ran harder, faster and more aggressively. The older girls ran timidly as if they needed to follow; this was seen as the “like a girl” stereotype. This is very telling of the time we live in. It shows the notion of gender roles is changing. The younger girls realize that running like a girl is no different than running like a boy. These younger girls, despite what they are reading in children’s literature, are defying typical gender roles.

I believe with the Audi and Always’ commercials and others like it to come, the notion of women’s inferiority can be debunked. These commercials will add to the discussions about gender inequality in society and will help to teach girls that gender does not define who they are.



3 thoughts on ““Like a Girl””

  1. This is a really good comparison to show how hopefully with ads like Always and Audi, we can change the way women are treated in society, although I believe we still have a long way to go. One thing that I find important to do, is to stop the stereotypes before they start, which is in the younger generations. In the Always commercial, like you said, the younger girls run faster, because they know they have the ability, they have not yet learned that society teaches doing something “like a girl” means you are weak and inferior. When I first watched this commercial when it came out, it made me very emotional to see how corrupt society is as we get older and more wise. Books like Kaya’s reinforce the stereotype when girls are interacting with boys, however, when girls are by themselves, they know how to be a leader and a good role model, it almost seems as if the boys are the ones who are making women feel inferior and like a follower.

  2. I remember this commercial from several years ago and still think about once in a while. It is really a telling perspective of society’s influence on girls and how girlhood changes as we grown up. I didn’t notice how much these thoughts are reflected in children’s literature until do the readings in this class. The comparison you made were really good!

  3. I really like how you incorporated both commercials. I think it’s interesting that the Always commercial shows how girls’ perspectives of the phrase “like a girl” changes as they age. I like how the Audi commercial tries to combat this change, and promote more gender equality. Hopefully with more ads like this, we can continue to promote gender equality and all companies will adopt the same policies as Audi.

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