What does it mean to be “like a girl”?


A week or so back, Flea and I were returning from a bike ride, when suddenly, the gears on Flea’s bike started slipping.

She’d managed to turn the gears while her bike wasn’t moving, and they were protesting.

I probably rolled my eyes, but it was no big deal, or so I thought.

But Flea’s reaction was to get upset and chastise herself. “I’m such an IDIOT, I get EVERYTHING wrong,” she cried.

There’s so much wrong with that sentence, I hardly knew where to start. I reassured Flea that it’s just a mistake, and we all make them, and making a mistake, or two, or ten doesn’t take away from all her positive qualities.

But the incident reminded me how fragile our children’s self-esteem can be; how easy it is for all of us to think of ourselves as stupid, or weak, or ridiculous. Or all three.

That’s why I’m such a huge fan of the Always “Like a Girl” campaign.

Like a Girl (in case you weren’t one of the 85 million people who watched the video on YouTube last year) is all about championing girls and celebrating their potential at a time in their lives when they are perhaps lacking in confidence.

This week, to celebrate International Women’s Day, Always released a new Like a Girl video featuring some of the amazing girls who responded to the first Like a Girl video – demonstrating how incredible and inspiring it can be when you do things “like a girl“.

It’s definitely a video I want my daughter and her friends to see. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. I’d love for you to share the video with young girls (and boys) in your life.

These kind of messages can and do make a difference. According to research conducted by Always in the US, only 19% of girls aged 16 to 24 thought that the phrase “like a girl” was a positive statement. But after watching the video above, 76% agreed that actually, “like a girl” is a positive statement. I was also heartened to read that two thirds of men who watched the video said it would make them think twice in future before using the phrase “like a girl” as an insult.

I’m really pleased to share this video with you, and even more pleased that Tots100 is teaming up with Always this weekend for a Twitter party where we’ll be celebrating International Women’s Day, and inviting you to share the incredible, inspiring and positive things you and your daughters do “like a girl”.

To get involved, all you need to do is join @tots100 and @always on Twitter from 8pm on Sunday evening and share your thoughts, comments and stories using the hashtag #LikeaGirl. We’ve got John Lewis vouchers to give away for the best Tweets, and you can find all the details over on the Tots100 website.

I do hope you’ll join us – because I’d like to think that by the time some of our daughters are reaching their teenage years, it will no longer be considered funny, or normal to insult someone by saying they’re just “like a girl”.

11 thoughts on “What does it mean to be “like a girl”?”

  1. You know what I love about this? Lots of the girls are in pink. I hate the fact that women feel they can’t be girly to achieve things in life. To me pink doesn’t stink. Pink is great, being “girly” is great and we can still do bloody amazing things whilst being “feminine”.

  2. Such a powerful video and post. Poor Flea, we’ve all been there and you handled it well. This film took me right back to adolescence and the pain of it all, it’s a tough enough time as it is without the added knock to confidence, that being a girl is anything less than brilliant. I make sure my sons know this along with all the girls in my life from cousins to nieces and friends’ daughters. Such vital films that deserve to go viral.

  3. I’m a little bit in love with this campaign. It shows the power of words and the power of self-belief. It’s made me think too about some of the misery I heaped upon myself from when I was Flea’s age to my late teens. The positivity in this video and the solid affirmation it gives to simply being ‘you’ was the messaging I needed to see/hear. It’s this kind of message that I’ll be sharing with my daughter and son as they grow older. See you at the Twitter party!

    1. Self-belief is so hard to come by in your teens, isn’t it? I know it’s tough enough later but during those years in particular, I remember overwhelmingly feeling like I was ALL wrong.

  4. Hi, I have a 12 year old daughter who loves the fact that she does things ‘like a girl’ … it’s her favourite saying right now ‘I’m such a girl!’ (said with a smile and lots of pride). I cannot begin to tell you how proud it makes me to see her grow and seize her identity. Recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer I decided to start a blog and hopefully somewhere down the road be able to say ‘look, something good came out of that experience’ – my second post was about the #likeagirl tag as I decided to adopt the phrase Fight Like a Girl as a positive motivator. A quick search afterwards brought me here, and as ever it makes me smile big to see mothers around the world encouraging their daughters (and sons) that its ok to be like a girl, after all, we keep right on achieving. x

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