What "Meninists" Missed About the #LikeAGirl Super Bowl Ad

Always

SheKnows executive Samantha Skey weighs in on the #LikeAGirl campaign.

"Meninists" or "men's rights activists" were offended by the Always #LikeAGirl ad that aired during the Super Bowl. Some men felt that the commercial was not promoting gender equality because it focused too much on young girls and not young boys.

The #LikeAGirl campaign, which dates back to June but has received elevated attention with its Super Bowl spot, strives to change the context of the phrase "like a girl" and use it as a source of female empowerment rather than as a derogatory remark. The campaign won a Clio award this past October.

Saying that someone runs or throws "like a boy" is more commonly used as a compliment than as an insult, yet the meninists were still staunchly opposed to the ad and started a #LikeABoy hashtag in protest. SheKnows' chief revenue officer Samantha Skey points out that meninists are missing the point of the commercial, as well as ignoring how destigmatizing the insult could help boys in addition to girls.

SheKnows is a women's lifestyle media platform, and Skey runs an initiative called Hatch, which aims to teach children and teenagers how to consume media responsibly. Skey worked with #LikeAGirl director Lauren Greenfield on a panel about the campaign.

"#LikeABoy is so silly," says Skey. "I think the meninists were missing the point." She says when addressing gender equality, it's important to use an inclusive approach. She thinks that the #LikeAGirl campaign is an interesting focal point because it can be a catalyst for discussing gender stereotypes.

"If you look at 'like a girl' from a boy's point of view, it's usually used by boys against boys," says Skey. "Yes, it is denigrating the entire gender of girls, but it's used to hurt boys. It's hurting everyone, it's used against all." Thus, the eradication of the phrase as an insult would in turn benefit all genders.

Jeannie Tharrington, P&G's communication senior manager for global feminine care, spoke to THR on behalf of the Always campaign. "We are encouraged by those who are engaging with the Always #LikeAGirl campaign as it clearly strikes a chord," wrote Tharrington in an email. "We're happy that an important conversation has started."

When asked what the next step is for the #LikeAGirl campaign, Tharrington replied: "We are planning to continue with Always #LikeAGirl efforts but are not able to share anything more at this time."

Skey suggests that men looking to address the #LikeAGirl campaign from a male perspective could perhaps discuss how they feel when they are mocked as feminine for enjoying something that doesn't fit into masculine stereotypes. "What if I don't want to throw, what if I want to knit?" posed Skey as a sample question.

"That would be defending the point of view that this doesn't just hit girls, this also hits boys, which many behind the video really give room for," says Skey. "They allow that this was the chapter that wasn't told."

"I do think there's a lot of discussion right now about issues of equality for the genders," says Skey, adding how impressed she is by Emma Watson's #HeForShe gender equality initiative.

She predicted that going forward, "smarter, more thoughtful participants in the conversation" will engage in a "he for she or she for he way," with children and young adults asking themselves, "How do we free ourselves of these gender stereotypes?"

"There's very different gender representation in this post-millennial generation," says Skey. Those who doubt the existence of shifting gender norms in our society need only look at the impact of a tampon commercial at the Super Bowl, and the dialogue that followed, to note that this is a discussion that has and will continue far past the big game.

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