Stop Using ‘Play Like a Girl’ as an Insult & Celebrate Instead
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I donâ€™t know when the phrase â€œlike a girlâ€ became an insult. Weâ€™ve all heard things like:
- “Wow, you run like a girl.”
- “Ha, she totally fights like a girl.”
- “Dude, you throw like a girl.”
Like it or not, itâ€™s an expression that carries some nasty baggage. But we donâ€™t need to buy into the notion that “like a girl” means physically incompetent. The viral campaign #likeagirl from Always made it clear that people are ready to get rid of the negativity associated with the phrase and turn “like a girl” into a shout of empowerment.
But hereâ€™s something to think about. Girls under 12 just donâ€™t carry that negative “like a girl” baggage. Check out this “social experiment” to see what I mean.
And this is so not about a girl beating the boys. This is about a girl moving with confidence and not being held back by a tired stereotype.
The confidence that comes from knowing how to move well â€” from being physically literate â€” benefits all kids, girls and boys both.
And itâ€™s something they can develop from playing all sorts of different sports, even if they find sport challenging. Itâ€™s a confidence that comes, according to family psychologist Donna Wicks, from â€œ…practice, mistakes, setback, recovery and finally mastery.â€
And whether or not your kids go on to become professional athletes, the confidence they gain from moving well will serve them in good stead as they hit the identity-crises of their teenage years â€” when many kids drop out of sport because theyâ€™re so self-conscious â€” and well on into adulthood.
Iâ€™m so heartened by these young girls who donâ€™t even know what the whole “like a girl” drama is about. If we keep encouraging them â€” and their brothers â€” to move and continue helping them to develop their physical literacy then hopefully (surely) these confident young women and men will run past these outmoded labels of “like a girl” or “like a boy” and leave them far behind in the dust.
Stephanie Rogers is a writer and wrote this when she was a regular contributor to Active for Life, a nonprofit organization committed to helping parents raise happy, healthy, physically literate kids. For more articles like this one, please visit ActiveforLife.com.