I took a gender and society class while studying at university and it was one of my favorite courses taken in college. Something we frequently discussed was how people communicate. The phrases said. The arrangement of words. The tone. While there are many who speak offensively with zeal (ugh!), there are also those who unknowingly say offensive things. I’m sure you’ve come across it — superiority spit flying near your face, belittling with every breath, patronizing phrasing that makes you want to roll your eyes so far back in your head that they’ll only come back down if you pinky promise that the coast is clear.
There are plenty of examples. Calling grown women “girls” and in the next breath, telling them “don’t be such a girl.” Telling boys or men to “man up,” God forbid they show any emotion and “act like a girl.”
Toward the end of the semester, my teacher gave the assignment to bring an advertisement that depicted gender roles. We then had to explain to the class what roles these advertisements subliminally encouraged (or discouraged). This was an easy task because these messages are everywhere (music, commercials, children’s toys, sitcoms, magazines, etc.). Some are good, but most are bad.
I could go on and on, but this post is about sharing a couple recent commercials that I find encouraging. They are different than most other advertisements today because they don’t make light of issues with gender roles and equality. Instead, they bring to light these issues. It’s a small step, but it is a step. I think we need to stop apologizing for being and using “like a girl” as an insult. Things can change, but it’s going to take a lot more than hashtags.
What do you think of the videos?