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- Moises Silva
"Like A Girl..."

Watch this video first. Then join me for some thoughts below...


When this video started I thought, "Oh brother. Here come the PC police." I have used the phrase. My wife has used the phrase. (Especially when telling our boys, "don't scream like a girl". Nothing against girls or girls screaming. We are really referring to the high pitch at high volume for no good reason so that our hair doesn't stand on end.) Objectively, girls often throw or punch from the elbow rather than the shoulder. It's just true.

But by the time I got to the end...I thought, "Wow. Maybe they have a point." And I wondered, "Is the reason that girls punch or throw 'like girls' just because no one has shown them how? Maybe a boy would throw "like a girl" if someone didn't teach him the right way? Maybe there really is a problem here. Why not teach our daughters and sons not how to run/throw/fight "like a man", but just the best way to do it?

I only have boys. I am not a girl nor am I the parent of girls. I would really like to hear from those of you who are one or the other. What did you think of the video? Are they right?

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Comments on ""Like A Girl..."":
1. Karl - 07/03/2014 2:08 pm CDT

I have 3 girls. I really like this commercial.

2. Flyaway - 07/03/2014 2:33 pm CDT

I have a daughter and 2 granddaughters. They have never been accused or insulted by someone saying they do something like a girl. They are more likely to be accused of doing things like a boy.

3. Tony - 07/03/2014 5:39 pm CDT

My daughters liked this commercial. I immediately thought PC police as well, but at the end when I saw it was a commercial for a product that caters to females, I thought marketing brilliance. Always will have customers for years to come.

4. Lurky British Nathan - 07/04/2014 11:52 am CDT

Oh, gosh, I absolutely throw "like a girl". And now I think about it, my dad is an absolutely top bloke, but we *weren't* close when I was a kid and I *don't* recall him ever teaching me how to throw. I totally think you're on to something.

He did teach me to skim stones, though, which I used to rule at. Very rusty now, though.

Where I think the advert - and feminism in general - has an important point is that we have "gendered" (to use a terribly PC term) ability or non-ability to do certain stuff.

So this "like a girl" trope, when used in earnest, truly (and irrationally) makes me feel less of a man, just because I suck at throwing - which is theologically awful and has taken me literally decades to unlearn, by the grace of God.

Meanwhile a girl who happens to be a tomboy and great at throwing or running or climbing trees is forced by our culture to feel like she's doing something unattractive or unfeminine, when she's just enjoying the way God made her.

So yeah, I totally agree with Shrode, and also the advert is speaking to something really important about questioning what *actually* makes up masculinity or femininity or whatever, and that's somewhere Christians have got some important input to say.

Also girls who can throw are cool.

5. NHE - 07/05/2014 12:52 pm CDT

I believe that there are some anatomical differences in the construct of the shoulder, if I remember right, but my son played against enough good girl players in Little League that I know that girls can be taught to throw like boys.

One of them even struck him out once! Several years laters, he's still not over it.

6. Neo - 07/07/2014 7:53 am CDT

I felt this whole video was overrated, and honestly it does lose its edge as its all packaged with an ad for feminine hygiene products...

7. Chuck - 07/12/2014 3:00 pm CDT

NHE, I'm not sure there are anatomical differences or, if there are, that they account for the phenomenon of throwing "like a girl". If I recall correctly, there was an article in The Atlantic a few years ago that explained that "throwing like a girl" is just the normal way for anyone to throw unless they have been taught to throw "like a boy" or, I suppose, they are imitating the motion and teaching themselves. Throwing "like a boy" is actually abnormal given arm and shoulder anatomy so throwing "like a girl" is how we throw naturally. If you've ever seen that video of men throwing with their non-dominant arm you'll see that they all throw "like a girl" because they never acquired the skill of throwing "like a boy" with that arm.

8. Chuck - 07/12/2014 3:17 pm CDT

Okay, so I didn't get all the details right but in general the article in The Atlantic backs me up, the notable exception being the bit about throwing "like a boy" being anatomically unnatural. I might have heard that somewhere else, inferred it, or made it up. :-) Here's the link to the story.

9. Flyaway - 07/12/2014 6:09 pm CDT

Chuck--thanks for the link. Now I know why my daughter and granddaughters throw like a boy. My son-in-law is a baseball coach. My daughter played in a league while she was growing up and my granddaughters play ball also.

Now if I could just learn to sail like my husband. I still don't understand the wind!

10. Tony - 07/14/2014 1:59 pm CDT

I just watched the original Karate Kid movie last night where Mr. Miyagi exclaimed to Daniel after throwing his first punch cautiously at Miyagi's chest, 'you hit like some sort of girl or something...'. We won't be able to stream Karate Kid someday as it will be too offensive.

I agree with the article for the most part (girls being trained to throw correctly), however isn't the term 'throw like a girl' used in the general sense as it stands within our society? Despite women/girls being free to pursue just about anything nowadays, the reality is many girls proportionately do not pursue baseball, softball, football or any other sport to where you throw something as much as boys do. As a result many more girls than boys do not learn to throw correctly and so the saying still applies does it not?

I have 3 daughters who I've asked if they wanted to get into softball (baseball is my sport and I would have trained them to be competent players) but they do/did not want any part of playing baseball / softball. My son however wants to play with some sort of ball ALL THE TIME. It is in boy's make up to play sports (generally speaking) to where they learn how to throw correctly.

So, generally speaking I argue that the term 'throw like a girl' is still applicable in our society despite the knowledge that girls have the ability to be able to throw correctly as much as boys do.

11. Karl - 07/21/2014 2:05 pm CDT

Ronda Rousey could kick Ralph Macchio's rear end. Probably Mr. Miyagi's, too.

I have three daughters. One wants nothing to do with sports. She is into acting and theater, where most of her vocally and theatrically talented male friends are as athletically disinclined as she is. In kindergarten though, she could go hand over hand along the monkey bars and climb a rope from the gym floor all the way to the ceiling, when the boys couldn't. The middle daughter, now 11, kind of likes to play ball in the yard as one activity among many and played rec league soccer for a couple of seasons. She doesn't have a lot of natural athletic talent or coordination but with a little bit of coaching from me she did a lot better - though still clearly isn't a born athlete. However,, she can climb a tree better, faster and higher than any of the boys in our neighborhood.

My third daughter, now 9, has from the very beginning shown much more interest in and aptitude for sports than either of her sisters. Even as a toddler she naturally caught a ball (snatched it out of the air rather than flinch and extend rigid arms) without being taught. Same with throwing, although I had to show her which foot to step with - something you have to do with many boys as well. She's played soccer for 3 years now, often on co-ed teams. Even on the co-ed teams she has been either the best or 2nd best player on every team she's been on. She is just a natural athlete. At some point in puberty the biological size/strength differential will kick in, and she won't be able to physically hang with the very best boys her age anymore. I don't know if sports will be a lifelong passion for her or just something she enjoyed as a kid. But I don't want her (or her sisters) to have the impression that "kicks like a girl" or "runs like a girl" or "does _____ physical activity like a girl" implies some kind of inherent inability or inferiority. When they hear "kicks like a girl" I want them to think of Mia Hamm or Alex Morgan. When they hear "runs like a girl" I want them to think of a marathoner or Olympic track star.

I think the commercial makes that point without being heavy-handed or overly PC about it. "Like a girl" shouldn't be used as an insult - a synonym for "badly" or "ineptly" or "stupidly" or "awkwardly" or any other negative connotation. I think Tony, perhaps typing tongue in cheek, presents a false dichotomy. Saying the term shouldn't be used that way, doesn't mean we have go on witch hunts and ban movies that use the term. But just because we don't go on witch hunts, doesn't mean it's a good thing to say or a good stereotype to perpetuate, either. No more than saying a white person who reads poorly "reads like a [insert disadvantaged ethnic minority of choice here] person" ought to be said. Sure the stereotype exists for a reason. That doesn't mean it should be perpetuated.

12. Karl - 08/07/2014 2:47 pm CDT

Saw this on Facebook today and it made me think of this thread:

"My coach said I ran like a girl, I said if he could run a little faster he could too." -- Mia Hamm

13. Karl - 08/11/2014 8:47 am CDT

Someone taught this girl:

http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/11337034/female-pitcher-mone-davis-lifts-team-little-league-world-series-3-hitter

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