The other day I watched an amazing video that inspired me to write this post. In the video they had older people act “like a girl” and the individuals they asked chose to embrace gender stereotypes and act in a way that is highly unflattering and yet may be true that some girls actually do run or throw or fight like the way they show in the video. The younger girls, however, were fierce and mighty and pretty much amazing in showing that girls can run and fight and throw like a normal person would. In the end there is a beautiful message that you just have to watch for yourself because it is pretty spot on. Basically the message is let’s stop insulting people by telling them they act or run or hit “like a girl” and that if someone says “you run like a girl” and you are a girl, tell them thank you, because, well, you are a girl. (If you are a girl that is, because let’s be honest here, boys are also insulted by the phrase “like a girl” which the video conveniently left out and made sure to make the boys the mean ones in the video).
As amazing as this video is, I find it lacking, slightly, because it is still reinforcing gender phrases. They end the video with the line – let’s make #likeagirl mean amazing things, which is great but not really what I want my children to even be thinking or focusing on because really, there are so many ways to be a “gender”, and the more we keep talking and pushing the focus on defining gender types the more we are missing the point, our gender does not have to define us.
Our girls also aren’t the only ones who are receiving harmful messages. When I was in college I read a book called Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, which is a phenomenal read until he says that boys need to be spanked which I disagree with but loved in spite of it. In this book he talks about how damaging it is to boys to tell them to “act like a man,” or “stop crying, and be a man” or the ever popular “Man Up.” Our boys aren’t allowed to cry and feel pain or vulnerabilities because then they aren’t being manly or cool or tough. Yet we wonder why our jails prisons are filled with men or why more men turn to pornography or drugs or drinking because some men have never been told that is o.k. to feel sad or angry or confused. some men aren’t taught that it is o.k. to cry and be vulnerable. But I don’t see a campaign to say hey let’s stop hurting our boys! Or one that says – hey not all men are jerks and treat women like they are less than them. We are so focused on empowering our girls – which I have two of them so I am all for – that we are forgetting to also empower our boys!
Why I hate gender roles and gender stereotypes . . .
At the end of the day there is no right or wrong way to be a girl. I know girls who love make up and pedicures and getting their eyelashes extended and I know girls who hate make up, don’t know what eyelash extensions are, and could care less about getting a pedicure. I know girls who love to run, who love to read, who love to cook, who love to kick some major booty in kickboxing and who love to make crafts. I also know women who can’t stand any of that! I know women who let people walk all over them by their own choices and I know women who people wouldn’t dare trying to walk all over. I know women who are sweeter than chocolate and some who are more bitter and nasty than a warhead!
So really, what’s the point in trying to put all girls in a box?
There also is more than one way to be a “Man” I know men who like to fish, who like to play sports, who like to watch sports, who can’t stand sports, who love UFC fighting, who hate UFC fighting, who are total jerks and who are total sweethearts. I know men who like to be strong and tough and I know men who would rather play video games and watch movies all day than have a six pack of abs. I know men who can fix anything in their house and I know men who can barely work a screwdriver. I know men who wear their hearts on their sleeves and men who are harder to read than a John Grisham novel. I know men who objectify women and I know men who value and respect women. I know men who want to work hard to provide for their families and I know men who are happy to be a stay at home dad while the wife provides.
So why are we trying to put all men in a box?
It doesn’t work because no two people are the same and that is what is so amazing about life! Not only that but there is no such thing as the ideal man or woman – we all have personal tastes and are attracted to completely different things so why try to be the ideal for everyone – it really doesn’t make sense!
If I could teach my children one thing before I die it would be this . . .
Never ever be ashamed of just being you – whatever that looks like. Do not let society or stereotypes or what someone else thinks about what you should be doing with your life matter because you are unique and all that you can ever be is You so just be the best you and rock it. Whether you are a boy or a girl it doesn’t matter. You are important. You are special. You have an important role to play in this life and it has nothing to do with your gender and everything to do with your talents and intelligence and how you treat others. All that matters in life is that you take the time to learn who you are and what you love. Once you know that embrace it and love yourself with every fiber of your being. You are more than your gender, you are a human being who has ideas and feelings and the only you in the world! So please just focus on being the best you that you can be and pay no attention to what anyone else has to say!
Do me a favor – stop talking about gender stereotypes and gender roles and start talking about how to just be yourself and love yourself and be the best you that you can be!
To remind you I have this awesome chalkboard printable in my shop that you can download and print and put it somewhere that can remind you every day to just be you!
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