Wednesday 20 May 2015

"You run like a girl!" Well, yeah...

How many times in your life have you heard someone say ‘like a man’ or ‘like a girl’? I bet you it’s more than you could count on your fingers, twice over. Try to think back again. What came to your mind as soon as that person said it?

Maybe it was little girl falling over as she attempted to run? Or perhaps she failed to catch some kind of sports ball? Or perhaps you thought of a dashing young man lifting some heavy object, which then caused his muscles to flex attractively?

Why didn’t you think of Jessica Ennis winning gold in the London Olympics or a local shopkeeper packing things onto his shop’s shelves? Why didn’t you think of the girl who was the ‘sports queen’ in your secondary school or the boy down the road who always carries his little sister on his back, everywhere he goes?

They do everything like a ‘man’ or a ‘girl’ because they just happened to be female or male.

When you think about it, they’re pretty stupid sayings. They simply further our stereotypes of ‘weak females’ and ‘strong men’. You say ‘fight like a girl’ but forget Boudicca, Elizabeth I and Black Widow. You just ‘fight like a man’ but forget the boys in wheelchairs, the men who don’t like sport and don’t have aggressive natures.

The phrase ‘like a girl’ has been constantly used to demote the female image while ‘like a man’ enforces the butch and strong male stereotype that we are all familiar with.

But really if the person who is being told to do something ‘like a man’ just happens to be female then it is physically impossible for them to do that; unless they got a sex change for the 5 minutes needed to tackle that task and then change back once it has been completed. No one is ever going to want a 5-minute sex change however, and therefore telling a woman to do something ‘like a man’ or vice versa is something that is completely impossible for them to do.

These phrases make no sense. They tell someone who identifies as a specific gender to do something 'like' the opposite one. “What can be done?” I hear you ask. Well, the solution is really quite simple: STOP USING THESE GOD DAMN PHRASES!
Stop saying ‘I run like a girl’ because either you will run like a girl whenever you run or will never run like a girl because you are male. Stop using these phrases and stop creating stereotypes in the younger generation’s minds. Stop using these phrases and ‘girls’ will no longer be viewed as ‘weak’ and ‘pathetic’, and ‘men’ will no longer be seen as ‘strong’, ‘dominant’ and ‘superior’. Instead people will be seen as the complex individuals we truly are, not one specific trait taken from a sexist stereotype.
People are people. They are vulnerable and strong and confident and caring and creative and boring and intelligent and witty. They are human.

Stop saying ‘like a girl’ and ‘like a man’; start saying ‘like you.’

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