People create artifacts that rebel against deeply rooted ideologies in hopes of exposing its flaws and inciting change. An example of a artifact looking to rip out an ideology at the roots is the #LikeAGirl campaign by Always, a well known feminine hygiene brand. The “#LikeAGirl” campaign is a form of rebellion that discuses and challenges the common and overarching ideology within society that males are the superior gender. It works to expose the ideology and re-define what it means to be a girl.
The campaign depicts the filming of a commercial where documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield asks three women, a man and a young boy to “run like a girl”, “fight like girl” and “throw like a girl”. The actual task itself “running, fighting and throwing” are all stereotyped as being masculine activities strictly because they are physical. All the participants including the females performed each task as they interpreted a girl might do it. Each performance implied that a girl would not be capable of the task. Each of them ran as though they did not know how, fought as though they did not want to break a nail and threw as though they could barely lift their arms. Therefore, when Greenfield first asked the question it is clear that, intentionally or not they have allowed the ideology to influence them, proving how pervasive the ideology truly is.
It is not surprising that the first round of performances were implying that women were incapable. The ideology has most likely been naturalized and embedded in them since they were children. The ideology can be found everywhere, but most prominently it can be seen in what roles women play in the media. To this day women are most often seen in roles with limited power such as housewives, secretary or damsel in distress. Meanwhile, men are depicted as all powerful CEO’s, lawyers, doctors and the knight in shining armor. An example of this sort of representation is easy to find in Disney movies, one of the largest movie franchises. Disney’s most popular narrative is the prince saving the princess from her impending doom. Therefore, just as the media is inescapable so is the ideology. This creates a society where the ideology is inherent in all of us, and is the reason the subjects performed the way that they did when asked to “run, fight and throw like a girl.”
The second time Greenfield asked the question she asked it to young girls. When they were asked to perform the same tasks “like a girl” they would run, fight and throw with all the effort that they could to best perform the task. Young girls, that are arguably less susceptible to the effects of media, and have not been around quite long enough to experience the ideology through in through, do not find the ideology to be natural. Therefore, when asked to perform the tasks like a girl, they simply performed the task as themselves. This highlights the fact that ideology is simply a construct in which we normalize and unconsciously agree to, it is not a governing rule. People are not born believing and valuing the dominant ideologies and constructs of the time, they are learned and naturalized . #LikeAGirl has exposed this and incites change.
Greenfield comments on the goal of her project and the results “It was amazing and moving and surprising to hear their responses. …It made us realize how deep and ingrained the stereotypes were, but also people’s desire to change them. Consciousness about what we take for granted is the first step to change and I hope this spotlight on what is thought of as a trivial remark will create a more empowering conversation for the next generation” (Kahn 2014). It is clear that Greenfield has succeeded in exposing the ideology, but now it is up to us to work towards creating a world where running like a girl means to “run as fast as you can” (Always #LikeAGirl 2014).
Check out the video for yourself by following this link: <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs&t=3s”></a>