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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Wordy Wednesday – Like A Girl

“You scream like a girl.”

“You throw like a girl.”

“You run like a girl.”

And…what’s wrong with that?

Apparently everything.

As it is currently used, being told that you do anything “like a girl” is an insult. Usually uttered in a disparaging tone, the phrase is used to insult girls and boys alike.

When used to insult a girl, the insultee pauses in confusion as she processes the fact that she is a girl and somehow that is a bad thing? Usually her confusion is quickly resolved and she responds, “Well I am a girl” before resuming the activity for which she was insulted.

When used to insult a boy, the insultee usually reacts aggressively towards his insulter because in childhood there is almost nothing worse for a boy than being called a girl.

And why is that?

Because women and girls are second-class citizens. Although there has been much progress, equality does not exist. Women are still being paid less money for the same work. It wasn’t until 1960 that ALL Canadian women had the right to vote in federal elections. 90% of American women still change their surnames to that of their husbands when they marry. It wasn’t until the mid 1970s that marital-rape became criminalized and it took until 1993 before it became illegal in all 50 states! That was only 21 years ago!

Until we establish gender equality, women will remain second-class citizens and doing anything “like a girl” will be discouraged and ridiculed.


Dresses are articles of clothing, yet they have become exclusively girl. Pink is a colour, yet it has become exclusively girl. Both dresses and pink have their own histories of how they became favoured for girls but how they became exclusively for girls is the same sad story – anything “for girls” is inferior. That is why you won’t see a boy wearing a dress and why a boy wearing the colour pink is often ridiculed and/or physically threatened (there has been some progress made in this area).

I know that there are doubters of my theory so I ask you to consider this…If someone must change their surname when they marry, why is it not the man? Why then, although favoured for boys, is it totally fine for a girl to wear blue or claim it as her favourite colour? Although long favoured for boys, why is it okay for a girl to wear pants? Why haven’t pants and the colour blue become exclusively for boys. Why isn’t there anything that is exclusively for boys?

The answer seems obvious to me. Boys are considered to be superior to girls so it is okay and encouraged to be “like a boy”. Girls are considered inferior to boys and who wants to do anything inferior? Doing anything “like a girl” is especially discouraged for boys.

Author’s note: Other theories are certainly welcome. Please leave your thoughts as to why “like a girl” is considered an insult and why dresses and pink are exclusively for girls in the comment section. You can also leave your thoughts on why men rarely take their partner’s name when they get married and/or you can take yesterday’s survey about married names.

Please read more about “Like a Girl”. Simply click on the links to my other posts found below in “Related posts”. There is currently a campaign by Always to change the way we think about the term “Like a Girl”. It is not a bad thing to do anything like a girl!

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