The overwhelmingly positive response to the Always ‘Like A Girl’ commercial shown at the Superbowl recently proves this is a much-needed conversation to have. The stereotype that doing anything like a girl is weak, less-than or laughable is dangerous not just because it demeans women, but because it also sets up men to be held to an unrealistic ideal of what THEY need to be.
In light of what an important message the video shared, Oxford University in the UK have made a video of their own in an attempt to show that doing something “like a girl” is not bad, it’s in fact badass.
The Oxford University Powerlifting Club wanted to encourage more women not to be afraid of doing something that has in the past been typically considered a “man’s sport” in a video called ‘Lift Like A Girl’.
“I think it’s really important that women feel empowered to take part in lifting, especially as it’s not seen as a traditional women’s sport,” said Abi Willett, captain of the powerlifting club. “There’s a stereotype that either women can’t lift or that women who lift somehow become ‘manly.”‘
“For me personally, lifting has made me more confident in my body — I no longer feel the pressure to be ‘skinny,’ which I have always found to be a major issue,” she told the Huffington Post.
“When I lift I’m not worried about my body or how my hair is or how I look. It’s just me and the bar,” says one girl in the video below.
If men have had the luxury (if we may be so bold as to call it that) to be involved in an activity where there is no pressure on how they look, why shouldn’t women be allowed to have the same? Unfortunately, even when women are less concerned about their image in sports, they still get berated publicly for their image. Just look at how Serena Williams has faced taunts throughout her career for her muscular physique.
Why is is that women are mandated to wear skirts in Badminton tournaments, and why do people associate women’s beach volleyball with skimpy bikinis rather than actual athleticism?
There’s a certain sense of empowerment and freedom when we shed the stereotypes that are normally associated with image.
Take a look at the video below, and just to see how ingrained stereotypes are in our consciences, see how many negative or critical thoughts come to your head when you watch these women. The change has to start with us as individuals, and campaigns like this serve as a reminder of what needs to be done.