TIME Culture

This Ad Completely Redefines the Phrase “Like a Girl”

Acting "like a girl" should not be an insult

After today, you’ll probably never use the phrase “like a girl” in a negative way—intentionally or not—again.

A new video seeks to redefine the phrase “like a girl,” as something strong and powerful. It’s part of the larger #LikeAGirl campaign by Always, the feminine hygiene brand owned by Procter & Gamble. Award-winning filmmaker Lauren Greenfield, who directed the 2012 documentary, Queen of Versailles, teamed up with Always to illustrate the brand’s mission to empower females and attack what Always calls a “the self-esteem crisis” among young girls.

In the video, a cast of men and women of all ages are asked to describe what they think the phrase “like a girl” means. The result is troubling. Waving hands and flipping hair, the participants pretend to run “like a girl” and throw “like a girl.” Everyone—except, notably, the young girls—demonstrate that “just like a girl” is often perceived as an insult. Yet the young girls act out athletic and deliberate motions. The others soon realize their mistake.

Branded female empowerment campaigns are nothing new: Consider Dove’s “Real Beauty” ads, which use simple props to show how “real” women feel about themselves. And Pantene has done similar work, with a focus on dismantling gender stereotypes in the workplace. All of these ads have gone viral—an advertiser’s dream.

The #LikeAGirl video could follow a similar path. Either way, it’s worth taking a minute to watch the video to see what these young girls have to say. After all, as one woman points out in the video, “I am a girl and that is not something that I should be ashamed of.”

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