Like a Girl is a social experiment that shows young girls everywhere that doing things #LikeAGirl should never be used as an insult – that it means being strong, talented, and downright amazing.
When did the phrase ‘like a girl’ become so negative?
The Like A Girl social experiment recruited real women, men, boys and pre-pubescent girls and asked them to show what it physically meant to run like a girl, throw like a girl and do other similar actions. The older men and women chose to present this in a superficial and self-deprecated manner, while the pre-pubescent girls performed these actions proudly and with confidence.
More than half of girls lose confidence during puberty – and a contributing factor to that drop are societal put-downs based solely on gender.
This amazing confidence building campaign was put together by Leo Burnett and Always, in collaboration with famous documetarian Lauren Greenfield.
Always is empowering women to maintain confidence at puberty, redefining “like a girl” from being an insult to being an expression of strength and downright amazingness.
“In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand,” said Lauren Greenfield, filmmaker and director of the Like A Girl video. “When the words ‘like a girl’ are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine ‘like a girl’ into a positive affirmation.”
Personally, when I saw the older girls and the guys interpretation I was expecting some laughs. But when the 10 year old Dakota got her chance to show us what it is like to run, fight and to throw like a girl it really put things into perspective.
Lauren Greenfield asked one of the little girls what it means to run like a girl, she answered: “it means run, fast as you can”. Why should it mean something else?
In an inside interview for Leo Burnett, executive Creative Directors Judy John (Toronto) and Becky Swanson (Chicago) talk about the creative insight that drives #LikeAGirl
How did you discover this unique tension point in the perception of doing something #LikeAGirl?
Judy John: ‘Half of girls lose their confidence during puberty’ is such a powerful fact. In our efforts to bring Rewrite the Rules, our new platform for Always to life, we wanted our first act to address the things that contribute to the drop of confidence in girls. Amongst all the work from the Chicago, London and Toronto team, there was one that simply said, ‘Let’s change the meaning of Like A Girl’. We all felt it in the room. That was it.
Becky Swanson: The phrase has become so ubiquitous, you have to stop and say “Hey, wait – was that an insult?” And then in true Baader-Meinhof form, you start hearing it everywhere. People say it without thinking and that’s what we’re trying change. It’s not always a pointed insult – but an unthinking pattern of behavior that people don’t even realize is destructive to girls.
How did you go about capturing this tension on film?
Judy John: It starts with getting a great director and then asking meaningful questions. Like all social experiments, you go in with a hypothesis of the responses you’ll get, but the responses we got were so much more personal and revealing than we had imagined.
Becky Swanson: That’s the genius of Lauren Greenfield—her ability to make people so comfortable that they reveal their deepest thoughts and beliefs. She pulled it right out of them.
Why did you choose documentarian Lauren Greenfield to help tell this story?
Judy John: We looked at a lot of directors but in the end, we all felt there was only one director who was perfect, Lauren. Her previous work showed her deep understanding of girls and women, and also how she could find the honesty on each issue.
Becky Swanson: She’s been on our radar forever; we have all these female brands and understanding teen girls is her life work. We first worked with Lauren ten years ago – on a series of print ads for P&G’s Being Girl – and won a Gold Lion at Cannes. There was no second choice.
Can you describe a defining #LikeAGirl moment that you experienced while growing up?
Judy John: I can’t think of one defining moment. It’s really been a series of moments where you say I’m going to do it the only way I know how and I’m going to do it unapologetically.
Becky Swanson: I was the first girl in the history of my high school to run for Student Council President; lots of people were quite indignant. It was fine to aspire to vice president, but no higher. Well, I won… and it completely paved the way for other girls to demonstrate self confidence without ridicule.
How does this campaign define what it means to be #LikeAGirl?
Judy John: This campaign is more about redefining what it means and rallying people behind that.
Becky Swanson: A girl can do anything she wants. Proudly. Enthusiastically. Without apology.
What do you hope this campaign will bring to light in the minds of young girls?
Judy John: I hope this campaign makes girls feel awesome about being a girl and doing things like a girl. I hope they feel that they are part of a sisterhood that supports and encourages them to go be great.
Becky Swanson: Young girls already believe they’re capable of doing anything – we certainly don’t want to change them. We want to change the society they are growing up in so they don’t suffer the crisis of confidence during puberty that affects girls twice as much as boys.
How can girls get involved with Always #LikeaGirl?
Judy John: Start using #LIKEAGIRL in a positive way. Be a role model.
Becky Swanson: Through social media. They can start by tweeting the amazing things they do #likeagirl! It will be fun to turn that hashtag on its head!
Meet the Director, Lauren Greenfield
Find out more about award-winning documentary filmmaker and director of Like A Girl Casting Call, Lauren Greenfield.