Yesterday my husband came wandering into the kitchen, from his YouTube perusings, and he asked me “If I asked you to run #LikeAGirl, what would you do?”
A memory burst into my head of me, at ten, racing home from school, the wind in my hair, the pavement pounding beneath my feet. A sense of being maybe one mile an hour away from actual flight, if I could just go a little bit faster. Freedom. Wildness. Wow.
‘Always’ the sanitary protection people have been running a campaign called ‘Like a Girl’. The sad fact of their YouTube video selection is that when asked to ‘Run like a girl’ most people, including women, start to flap about and be, basically, a cartoon bimbo. ‘Oh my hair’s getting messed’ says one saddo.
There is, however, redemption. They ask some actual small girls to ‘run like a girl’ and they pretend to run like the wind. When asked to ‘box like a girl’ they take on an invisible Tyson and floor him. ‘Throw like a girl’ and imagined spears cut through the air. It’s wonderful. The campaign asks ‘when did ‘like a girl’ become an insult?’ and it is a good question. I have no answers.
I don’t think about being a girl. I just think about being ‘me’ as that is all I have to work on. I can’t remember being anyone else, of whichever gender, so I can’t draw on that other experience, although if I was hypnotically regressed that might prove useful. I’m myself. I talk to myself in my own head about me-stuff. I’m a ‘me’.
I always thought the sexist people were idiots. I’m including women in this too, whether it’s the female teacher who thought I shouldn’t read sci-fi because I was ‘a girl’ or the female colleague who thought my Dad, a widower, no doubt lived in a festering pit of domestic hovelry because he was ‘a man’. What sort of an idiot thinks like that? What a narrow arrow slit of a mind some people possess. Nothing gets in. Little comes out.
I’ve been at a disadvantage of course. Not because I am #likeagirl, far from it, no the problem is I was brought up, by my crazed and clearly eccentric parents, to believe that I could have a go at anything, be that sky-diving or patisserie. It didn’t matter whether you had to be #likeagirl, to do it, it just mattered that you had enough interest or curiosity or the necessary kit. Skis. Wool. Oxyacetylene torch. Hard work wouldn’t go amiss either in the achievement of goals. Ah yes goals. I don’t like football. That isn’t because I’m ‘a girl’ it’s because I find it boring. Like Formula 1 and Jazz music. I never colour code myself with pink either. Yuk. Hate pink.
I don’t like lists of films for ‘mums’. Steel Magnolias or Beaches or You Before Me that sort of mullarkey is not for me. I’d rather have swords and/or time travel in my cinematic epics.
I’m looking forward to the Wonder Woman movie in fact on that principle. Gods and warriors etc, always appealing. She fights #likeagirl but also dresses, #like a girl, what with going around in her pants all the time. Mind you the Spartans did tend to trot around in their loincloths. Put a shirt on boys. Or a bit of armour. Armour would have been really helpful to Leonidas and the other 299.
There you go, they should have dressed #likeagirl after all; Viking Shield maidens didn’t dress in their pants to go to battle. They wore suitable attire for bloodletting and warfare. They plaited their hair to keep the gizzards out of it. They fought #likeagirl of course, Valkyries in fact.