Not one to let Dove corner the market on PSA/commercial hybrids, Always is getting in on the game. The same company that makes an array of feminine hygiene products recently released a video challenging the “like a girl” stereotype, by asking males and females (though looks like mostly females) to act out what it means to run like a girl, throw like a girl, etc. Take a look at what happens:
Here are a few things I found notable about this video:
– The older the subject, the more likely she was to act out a stereotype. Why?
– The little boy who doesn’t seem to think his sister counts as a girl.
– What footage is missing? At the end of the video, the same people who re-enacted (and re-enforced) a stereotype talked about how untrue the stereotype is. And yet that stereotype was the first thing that came to mind for them when prompted. What took place between the time when they were asked to run like girls, and when they were talking about how pejorative it is to say someone does something “like a girl”?
I wish, so badly, that somebody else made this video. The point about stereotypes is well-taken, but I wish instead that it came from somebody, or some entity, not trying to profit by calling attention to the meaning behind a phrase heard daily on playgrounds and practice fields. Like the Dove ads, this commercial also takes emotional manipulation – a common if not mandatory marketing practice – to another level by aligning it with a cause. True confidence doesn’t come from Always anymore than it comes from Dove products. I hope that, for most people, the takeaway from this video is not that Always equates empowerment, but that we should question stereotypes and realize when we’re relying on them. Otherwise, they won’t get thrown at all.