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Like a Girl

I am a huge fan of smart marketing. It might have something to do with the fact that my original career goal was to be a top ad exec making pivotal, culture-changing commercials for Coke and Nike. I ended up choosing a different career path, but the interest in advertising is still there, which might explain why I loved this ad so much:

I am a girl and have often been tossed to and fro in trying to figure out what being a girl means. I know I’m not alone in this. It’s been a problem since The Woman Question became a “thing” in Victorian-era England. Society is tough on little girls trying to figure out who they are. Strangely, the phrase, “You hit like a girl,” is used as an insult typically directed to boys. Society is a tough on little boys too. The phrase “man up” also comes to mind.

Here’s the thing, men and women are different. I’ve taken biology, and I’ve seen a man naked. I know what I’m talking about. But different does not have to mean something derogatory. Different does not mean less than. When I was little, my mom always used to say cheesy little things like, “I love you all the same.” I swore I would never say that to my kids, at least until I had kids and then I found myself parroting the phrase that had always grated on me as a child. The truth is that I don’t love them all the same. I can’t. They are all different–three kids who are totally independent, different people. I use this phrase because it’s the one they will understand. What I mean is, I love them all equally. I love McKenna for her strength and tenacity, Merrik for his humor and compassion, Chandler for his quiet steadiness and resolve. I love them all equally but differently. And that’s okay.

So back to being a girl and smart marketing. I love this ad because it gives a glimpse into what we, as girls, evolve into as we become women. Not all of us. Certainly not. But enough of us grow and lose that empowerment to land a solid kick, to fight for our dreams, to run without faltering. We give in to the idea that our physical traits are the ones that matter. This myth is perpetuated at every check stand counter littered with beauty magazines dedicated to losing weight and getting a guy. This ad is different. Sure, it’s marketing, and I am well aware that the advertisers are trying to peddle a product. I just love that they were smart about it! I love that they saw the problem in a woman’s self-image and figured out a way to market a product to girls without making the problem worse.

This ad is a nice reminder to remember the girl we were before we let others impose opinions on us. I love that they asked the girl toward the end if she would do it differently and she responded that, “I would run like myself.” There is power in being who we are without fear of censure. I’m glad they let her try again. Yeah. I’m a firm believer in second chances. It’s okay to need second chances and third and fourth chances too. Whoever you are . . . be you. Run like you. Fight like YOU.