Still from the Always Like A Girl Project found on ABC
When I found out that I was going to have a little girl while pregnant I thought about how I wanted to be the type of mom that would empower and raise my daughter to be a confident person. Since she was very little, she has been interested in activities that are considered more boyish in nature – building LEGO’s, climbing tree’s and collecting bugs, playing Minecraft – and has had several friends over the years ask her “why do you like boy stuff?” I explained that these are neither boy nor girl “things” and she can like and do what appeals to her. Luckily, she has enough self-confidence to just shrug her shoulders when she gets asked this question now from kids and says “she just likes it.”
Part of raising a confident girl, for me, has included focusing less on outward appearances and more about building her up within. I am constantly telling her that she is a good friend, daughter, granddaughter, person, athlete and student. As well as putting her in activities that focused less on her looks and dressing up and more on other attributes. She just finished her 2nd YMCA triathlon this past month and second season of soccer. I am more comfortable exposing her to these activities as I found after only one season of dance she was starting to look at herself more in the mirror and started talking about her weight – yikes! I assume most dance studios don’t encourage this and it could have been the older girls in the other classes – but statistics show that female athletes in aesthetic sports (e.g. gymnastics, ballet, figure skating) found to be at the highest risk for eating disorders.(Source: Anad). Whereas girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports. (Source: Women’s Sports Foundation). I figure get her interested in activities that focus less on aesthetics at an early age and lead her more in the direction of doing things that will build her up.
Whatever you find your daughter likes to do, whether it be art, dance, swimming, playing LEGO’s – the most important thing we can do as their mothers is to express (and demonstrate) how awesome it is to be a girl – and what makes us special! Always has recently launched a campaign called Like A Girl which is meant to empower girls and demonstrate that it is cool to do things Like A Girl. Award-winning documentary filmmaker and director, Lauren Greenfield, was the perfect choice to direct this project as much of her photography and film work has focused on gender and the self-esteem crisis and empowerment of girls. Lauren says “This project is a fantastic and vital opportunity to empower girls (and educate our audience) to always align the expression #LIKEAGIRL with the meaning of strength, confidence and empowerment.” (Source: Always.com).
A study found that only 19% of girls felt the words like a girl had a positive association to them so I think this campaign is hitting on a cultural and gender hotspot. Our girls should feel good when they hear these words – not feel like it is a bad thing to do things like a girl! Something is happening along the way from preteen into adolescence where girls get the feeling that doing things like a girl are bad or not as good. I asked my soon-to-be 8 year old to show me what it was like to throw, run, and kick like a girl – and she demonstrated her best kung-fu and boxer-style kicks and punches. Sigh… that’s my girl!
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Using #LikeAGirl as an insult is a hard knock against any adolescent girl. And since the rest of puberty’s really no picnic either, it’s easy to see what a huge impact it can have on a girl’s self-confidence.
Always is kicking off an epic battle to make sure that girls everywhere keep their confidence throughout puberty and beyond, and making a start by showing them that doing it #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing. (Source: Always.com).
We can help spread the message that the words Like A Girl should and can be a compliment and empower our young girls to believe they are capable of doing anything they set their minds to. Please share this video with friends and family and join in the #LIKEAGIRL project by tweeting out to @Always using the hashtag #LikeAGirl and tell them all the amazing things you do as a girl!
Here’s to raising strong and determined young girls who evolve into powerful and confident women!
As always thank you for helping spread seeds of kindness dandelion moms! What better way to show kindness than to empower our children!