I adored the “Like a Girl” commercial from Always. After it aired, there was an applause at the beach bar I had hunkered down at for the game. It addressed an overlooked, misunderstood insult to women. Its meant as jest, but in reality its insulting to any female that busts her ass to become a stronger, faster, better version of her self. It implies that women are inferior to men. And that breaks my heart. We’re not. We’re different, but certainly not inferior.
I came close to blogging on the subject on my training blog back in 2013. I experienced the “Getting beat by a girl” insult during a race and it left me fuming. I was passing a guy climbing out of a river and up a bank. There just so happened to be a volunteer standing there shouting at the man, “You’re getting beat by a girl.” He then continued to tease the guy. I shouted, “Girls can be strong too.” And my fellow racer kindly told the volunteer, “She looks strong. It’s cool.” Kudos to my fellow racer.
I also experienced a very empowering and uplifting “Like a girl” during a race. I was racing the IN Spartan Sprint with my best friend, and we were taking our time since it was her first race. When we got to the Sand bag carry I decided to grab the men’s weight and boogie through the obstacle. As I was running down the hill, I passed a couple of guys. The volunteer with the bullhorn was shouting words of encouragement as I raced through the obstacle. “She’s flying down the hill, passing people. And carrying the men’s weight!” Not once did he use my gender as an insult to the other racers.
So, what’s the difference? It comes down to respect for an athlete. All athletes train with determination and perseverance to grow in their chosen field. Being a woman does not make anyone less of an athlete. Granted, men as a whole are stronger. There is no denying that. But let’s not deny a woman the worth of her tenacity, dedication, and accomplishments.