#LikeAGirl: Do We Accept Limitations Because We Have Boobs And A Baby Maker?
A new study by Always has found that we still feel pressure to conform to girly standards, and it starts at a very early age
Did you catch this tweet by the English FA before it was quickly deleted? In welcoming the ladies football team back home after the Women’s World Cup, they caused a major stink with their ostensibly well-meant message of support. Would they say the same about Sturridge and Rooney?
XX + XY = equal
Apart from certain obvious physical attributes, what makes us any different to the lads? The Always Confidence & Puberty Study found that 84% of girls believed society put them in boxes which had a negative impact on their lives. Nearly 60% of those questioned said they lost belief in themselves at puberty. Many quit the things they loved liked like sports and music, and while some regained that confidence, lots of girls didn’t. It makes you think, doesn’t it? What potential was lost? What life courses changed?
Chalk it down
To help young women feel supported and motivated to pursue their passions, Always are rolling out their Global Confidence Teaching Curriculum with TED (as in the Talks, not the bear – that would be a whole other conversation!), and it’ll be in Irish schools too. Their latest online vid, Always Unstoppable #LikeAGirl, albeit with a rather long title, is the shizz. Just wait for the “people think that girls are supposed to be all happy and la-di-da”, line! #loveit.
Growing up, women become conscious of something they hadn’t previously been aware of.
Video Director, Lauren Greenfield, says, “We weren’t born with these notions. Growing up, women become conscious of something they hadn’t previously been aware of.” Championing confidence is key. “Words are so important in how we talk to young girls”, reveals psychologist, Laverne Antrobus. “Talking can immediately counteract negative thoughts. Remind them that you’ve noticed their abilities, their skills and their positive attributes. Those memories will be the ones they will call on when they need that extra bit of mettle during tough times.”
We’re getting on board (just like Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams), and not just with the kiddos, buoyancy and self-belief at any age is a gift – give it to the woman next to you. Let’s all be who we’re meant to be. #unstoppable
Looking back, we’ve had our fair share of society’s expectations of girls (and women) thrown in our face. Here’s some tales from the front line, and here’s hoping campaigns such as #LikeAGirl help stamp out this stereotyping.
“When I was a teenager, I had a (female) friend who used to tell me I had to stop talking about the things I was interested in because it was ‘off putting’ to guys. You’re so at sea at that age anyway – you don’t know what to do to attract them and all that sort of thing, but I used to think that was mad. I was never prepared to sit there like a silent female and let the men have all the say. So I didn’t – and no one should, because women’s voices matter – even if it’s just over stuff like the bands you like and the books you read; which are actually crucial signifiers when you’re a teenager. Giving that message to girls and women is plain wrong, and it wasn’t given to me at home, so to have it said to me by a friend, repeatedly, was actually very confusing. And of course, the ultimate lesson from this is that if he (or she) is not interested in your opinion, then you shouldn’t be interested back.”
“In my secondary school Technology and Design was a ‘boys’ subject. The girls were pushed aside as the teacher focused his attention on the boys – I guess the school assumed girls weren’t likely to pursue a career in that field – it was a shame because I actually really enjoyed that class. When it came to picking my subjects for the Leaving Cert, I ended up choosing ‘girl-friendly’ Home Economics instead…”
Victoria, Junior Digital Editor
“Recently I complained, quite rightly, about shocking customer service on a plane. The male staff member was having none of it – he replied angrily with a ‘listen love’ spiel which made my blood boil. Guaranteed he’d give a guy a reasonable explanation, using a reasonable tone, and wouldn’t be so condescending. He made me feel like I was having a girly meltdown over nothing.”
Rosemary, Deputy Editor
“It annoys me when people say, ‘good girl’. It’s like ruffle the hair on your head, aren’t you cute and obedient. You don’t hear ‘good boy’ used unless the child is under five, whereas “good man” has much stronger, respectful connotations.
Linda, Fashion Editor
“Growing up, I would visit my grandparents every weekend. The cousins would all play in the garden and most of the time peace would prevail that is until it was time to pick teams. The two ‘captains’, boys of course, would choose every male cousin, even the toddlers who could barely walk, in favour of the girls. We seldom got a chance to play, unless it was as sub goalie, and more often than not, we were pawned off as the water carriers or nurse (read: not doctor), in case one of the lads got injured. If we protested we were thrown off the team and told to go away and ‘play house’”.
Michelle, Staff Writer
Have you ever been told that because you’re a girl you shouldn’t do something? Drop us a line in the comments below or tweet us @stellarmagazine #LikeAGirl
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