Target: Alan G. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, parent company of Always
Goal: Applaud Always for ad campaign that questions sexist stereotypes and promotes positive self-image for girls and women
The phrase “like a girl” is among the most ubiquitous sexist taunts that anyone, male or female, can experience. A recent ad campaign for Always feminine products takes an interesting look at this often-said but rarely-pondered phrase, and in doing so it undermines sexist stereotypes and promotes a positive image of strong, self-confident women. Sign the petition and commend Always for taking a stance against sexism.
The commercial at first features a number of young women and a couple of young men. A director instructs them to “run like a girl” and they comply, offering hammy, over-the-top prances, self-conscious hair-flips, and flapping arms. Similar commands, such as “fight like a girl” and “throw like a girl” produce similar results–“like a girl” seems to function as a code phrase for “silly and inept.” The ad explains that most girls’ self-confidence “plummets” when they reach puberty.
To underline this point, a director gives pre-pubescent girls the same prompts. “Run like a girl,” she says, and the young girl on camera sprints in place, her face covered with a look of intense concentration. The command “throw like a girl” prompts not a half-hearted, limp-wristed toss, but a powerful pitch with force and follow-through. When the girls are told to “fight like a girl” they look like they’re picturing themselves in the boxing ring, not in a slappy catfight.
The message the ad sends is powerful: girls are not inherently weak, ineffectual, or incompetent. Weakness as a uniquely feminine problem is a social construct that we learn as we grow. Insults based on gender are hindering generations of young women and promoting a culture in which casual sexism can lead to more serious ramifications for both women and men.
The old advertising adage “sex sells” too often translates into sexist and stereotypical portrayals of women. It is refreshing and heartening to see one company taking a completely different approach. Sign the petition and commend Always for its praiseworthy, stereotype-shattering ad campaign.
Dear Mr. Lafley,
I am writing to thank you for Always’ recent “Like a Girl” ad campaign. This empowering, stereotype-shattering campaign is a breath of fresh air in a world where portrayals of women in ads are often based on old sexist tropes. I commend you for using your brand to promote an honest, inspiring, and positive image of women and the obstacles they face in their daily lives, and I urge you to take this campaign even further.
The “Like a Girl” campaign has made an enormous splash online. The YouTube video has over 23 million views. It has been shared enthusiastically over social media. News outlets have even picked up the story, with one anchor noting that the ad gave her “chills.” Clearly the campaign has struck a chord with many women, and rightly so: it eloquently highlights the casual, “harmless” sexism that women face in their everyday lives.
But “harmless” sexism can prove just as hurtful and damaging as other more blatant forms of ridicule, as the campaign points out. The “Like a Girl” campaign has done a wonderful job of both acknowledging the issue and offering women (and men) constructive ways to confront it, and for that, I truly thank you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: cherylholt via Pixabay