This Always Ad Asks What It Means To Do Something "Like a Girl"

The brand looks to turn the phrase from an insult to an inspiration.

How would it make you feel if someone told you you threw like a girl? Or ran like a girl? Given its history as a schoolyard insult, it would be no surprise if you didn't take the description as a compliment.

In this new spot for P&G's Always brand by agency Leo Burnett's Chicago, London and Toronto offices, director Lauren Greenfield asks a handful of adults to imitate running, throwing and fighting like a girl. The results are predictable. The amazing part comes when Greenfield—who also directed "The Queen of Versailles"—then asks young girls the same questions.

The power of this commercial lies in the juxtaposition of these answers. It's a very similar message to the one Verizon used recently to encourage girls in science, mathematics, and technology. Challenging seemingly innocent phrases and impulses to effect positive change in gender identity and attitude.

Just try and look at 10-year-old Dakota and patronize her with "like a girl." It's impossible. And Always taps into some brand image gold in aligning itself with the idea that being like a girl, or being a girl, should be impossible to use as an insult to anyone at all.

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  • Carmen Fabella

    Hated it. And false. Girls' self-esteem drops in middle and high school because other GIRLS are mean. Real mean. I am very tired of seeing young boys and men lectured 24/7 on how to treat women. I have a 14 year-old boy, and a 19 year-old, and they know (always have) who has the advantage in today's America. News Flash - it is not boys. Your commercial was just one more put-down of boys and men. It was not innovative. It was not fresh. It was not new.

  • Lisa Grealish Del Giudice

    I didn't read all of the message boards, but the ones I did read missed the essential point. When girls enter puberty, they suddenly lose their confidence and start thinking that being a girl is inferior. I have been a middle school teacher for 30 years and see this each year. This is a very important message that needs to be sent to the youth of our country that "running/throwing, etc... like a girl" l is no longer an acceptable statement. While girls are not the same as boys, they are not less capable in any way.

  • dctorbert

    You idiots who think this is saying girls are just as "strong" or "fast" as boys, you missed the whole point of this ad and You Are the reasons there are so many self-confidence issues with our young in America. The ad is saying that it's OK to be a girl or boy and we're different, but one isn't worse than another and it shouldn't be seen as an insult. Be who you are.

    love this ad.

    @Bradley Allan and any other idiots who put stupid comments on this site

  • Peter Hurndell

    I guess one should look on the positive side. The video has engendered discussion and is getting air-time.

  • Peter Hurndell

    I totally agree. I'm astounded that people commenting in this thread are so myopic. Women as well as men can and do achieve greatness when given an optimum springboard.

    Unfortunately, so many limiting thoughts, behaviours; whatever one would call them are learned at such a young age. It is our task as adults in this world to take barriers away so that our future is a brighter one!

  • Bradley Allan

    lmao I can't believe this is a thing. Seriously, why do women keep trying to fight against science? You are built for giving birth, men are built for combat and athletics. That isn't to say a women cannot throw a ball or run or fight, but there is a reason they do all of those things in separate leagues from the men. Women can't play hockey with men, they'd be crushed. They can't have a UFC fight with a man, they'd die. They can't run against men because they'd be left in the dust. Doing something like a girl is an insult, but only to men who are doing a physical activity poorly. Because on average, a man/boy should be more physically inclined than the average girl. Saying that a girl does something like a girl isn't a bad thing, they are a girl and are built differently at their core.

  • Phoebe Evans

    "you are built for giving birth" Sorry, but NO. Giving birth is simply something that the (cis) female body CAN do. Male bodies can achieve orgasm from prostate stimulation, does that mean that all men are built for gay sex? Please reconsider your disgusting, sexit comment.

  • Katherine Jinx

    Don't you understand no one is trying to fight the truths of biology? The problem is that people think it's acceptable to use gender as an insult.

    Imagine telling your boss at the company softball game that he runs like a girl - maybe you'll get a laugh. Imagine telling your boss at a company softball game that he (verb)s like an (ethnicity/race). Hmm. Can't help but wonder if you'd be called into HR on Monday.

    That aside, when people continue to say "like a girl" as an insult, it creates a culture, which influences children (see Brofenbrenner's theory).

    You make a valid point only if that was the argument women are making, but unfortunately I believe you've misconstrued the situation and I encourage you to examine it from a less defensive perspective.

  • Katie Carlson

    We would like to think that men and women are treated equally in distance running, but in NCAA cross country, men run 8k-10k while women may race no longer than 6k. When asked, coaches say their girls will get injured and exhausted if they run as far as the men. Any woman who has ever ran a marathon knows this is not true. What would you say if a marathon created a women's only head start 5 miles in front of the men's to "protect women and even the playing field"? This is what happens in the NCAA every weekend. We might not run as fast, but we deserve the opportunity to try! Please show your support for men and women running equal distances.

  • Ada Mari Frost

    There's a few women that totally dominate some of the annual marathons around the world. Humans in general aren't naturally equipped for distance running. Distance walking, sure, but not running, so both sexes need to train everyday to get to that point, there's little natural talent other than strong ligaments and tendons. Well, except for that guy that can run forever.

  • Harper Buonanno

    Anyhow, "like a girl' makes no sense, especially as related to athletic ability. Some people are more athletically talented than others, true, but the abilities and techniques for any sport can be learned and developed over time, regardless of gender. It amazes me that doing something 'like a girl' has specific bad connotations in our society. Just lame for everyone, IMO.