So, here I am, a born-and-raised New Englander, and I missed the Super Bowl (where I hear the Patriots did pretty well, by the way) in its entirety. I missed it all– the game, halftime, commercials, snacks. Whoops. Apparently, this fantastic ad from Always played. I’d seen it before, and I have to admit, I adore it:
Powerful message, right? My favorite part is a little over a minute in, when the boy in the yellow shirt realizes that his interpretation of #LikeAGirl insulted girls, including possibly, his own sister. I love this ad so very much.
Boy-mom over here, just has to say…what about the boys? Finally, our society is starting to take women’s equality in all areas of life seriously. It is no secret that women have been treated as less-than in so many areas of our world for so very long. As recently as 2011, full-time working women here in Connecticut were earning only 78% of what full-time working men earned. Heck, I am a woman myself, and I am overjoyed that we are telling our women and girls they can follow their dreams. But what are we telling our boys?
The same old song. “Be a man.” “Man up!” “Grow a pair.” “Don’t be a sissy!” Stuff like this:
We need to get with the program and include our boys in this awesome message of being true to oneself. Just as all girls aren’t June Cleaver, not all men have to love football, women, bodybuilding, and beer. We rightfully embrace women who want to take on leadership roles and chart their own paths, but we cast off little boys who love pink and want to be caretakers, snickering as we do so. And for some reason that I cannot discern, our society seems to look the other way while this happens. Girls can be anything, but boys? They’d better be boys.
Just as the Always ad suggests a new meaning for #LikeAGirl, we need to reconsider what we mean when we say #LikeAMan. We need to stop telling little boys who are sensitive and kind to “man up” and take charge. We need to stop instinctively labeling toys as “girls’ toys”and “boys’ toys” and let all people decide for themselves what they are about. So while I love the sentiment behind this #LikeAGirl movement, let’s remember to spread that same message of acceptance and encouragement to boys who may want to wear pink while caring for their baby dolls #LikeAMan.