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.