I was a serious 12” fast pitch softball player once. All-area, all-star, traveling teams, you name it. So I have a particular reaction to the saying, “You throw like a girl.” I have many a conversation in my house with my husband and sons that it is not appropriate to say “He just screamed like a little girl!” or “You throw/run/jump/dance/(insert word here) like a girl,” because when said, it is likely meant to belittle. And I won’t have any of that…
My husband recently sent me a tweet and he stated “@AbigailClary throws like a girl.” Of course, I clicked on the link in the tweet immediately so I could provide a snarky reply to my whopping audience of 250 followers, declaring him the enemy.
To my surprise, the link led to a video (see above) showing how very young girls react to being asked to throw/run/fight like a girl. It’s wonderful; their reaction is totally different than the adult assumption. They throw hard, they run fast, and they fight like crazy. For them, it doesn’t register as an insult at all. If a girl can throw well, then throwing like a girl must mean throwing well. Nothing embarrassing about that.
It was a moment of awakening for me. How do we make sure that young girls keep that confidence and moxy forever? And how do I make sure I keep mine? (Because believe me, my confidence is challenged by the minute.)
I also recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that talked about the struggle to disassociate the B-word—either “bossy” or that other pesky B-word—from a girl or woman with strong leadership characteristics. The article asked, how to do we nurture those skills for our future leaders and make “bossy” become “better”?
It is a fact that we must have strong men AND women leaders to make it all work. Our economic growth depends on them both. So how do we mentor all of our children to change their perspective and flip that age-old saying on its head? The answer to this will help me raise my young daughter, whom some might call “bossy,” to be a leader in the world and to know how cool it is to be a girl with confidence and opinions.
I do know we can start with ourselves. If we are going to level the playing field for our daughters, we have to start with encouragement for the traits that will get them there, and celebrate them in ourselves as well. As the Fast Company blog states “being like a girl, or being a girl, should be impossible to use as an insult.” Next time my son says, “Mom, you ______ like a girl,” I will definitely say thank you.
So, how do we make sure doing something “like a girl” means something amazing? We have to live it and believe it.
Video courtesy of YouTube: Always