We've heard that expression a lot. Especially when we were younger on the playgrounds or in gym class. Little boys would yell out, “Gosh you throw like a girl!” And it was an insult. It meant we threw weakly or we didn’t throw far enough. And other kids would laugh and you’d feel embarrassed until your teacher would tell them to stop. But they wouldn’t tell you why. You were too young. Now, in the wake of feminist rallies, and an overall mostly positive effect, I want to revisit that playground.
Anything “like a girl” has some sort of connotation. I remember when I was younger, and sometimes even now, my sister and mother would yell at me when I didn’t dress the way a girl is supposed to. We have such definitive ideas of the way girls should look.
Hair that is perfectly in place, makeup on, no sight of a blemish or imperfection, a pair of leggings and a long shirt or a dress or skirt ensemble, and standing in high heels with no stumbling at all. And then there’s the way we expect girls to act. They should never raise their voice, they should be smart, but not too smart, and they should always speak appropriately. No cursing allowed because it’s not ladylike.
That’s the other thing, ladylike. What does that even mean? It’s just a word that people use to train girls to fit into a mold of how they should act. Or at least the way these people should act. When I was growing up, my mom and sister would tell me that wearing a sweatshirt every day with my favorite jeans wasn’t what girls dressed like, but apparently I was just preparing myself for college.
So, I grew up thinking that to be a lady was to wear fancy clothes, and have your makeup and hair done perfectly every day so that boys would notice you. And while these are what make you a lady, there’s so much more to it than that.
Being a lady, or rather a woman, is dressing up however you want; it’s wearing as much or as little makeup as you want to. It’s going out with boys, or girls, or no one at all because you wanna rock out and be single. It’s going to college and getting your degree, going straight into the workforce, or going into the military and serving your country as a proud, strong woman.
It’s being shy or outspoken, it’s being a genetically born woman or going through a transformation to the woman you knew you were born to be. It’s going out late or staying in to study. Being a woman doesn’t have one set standards as so many people, politicians and celebrities want to make it out to be.
The best thing about being a woman is being yourself. It’s not fitting a specific mold, it’s making your own. When you redefine what it means to be a woman, you redefine life. Let’s redefine “Throw like a girl.” It means being strong, it means never giving up just like it does with a man. It no longer means being weak and frail. It means being strong, and powerful. So the next time anyone puts “like a girl” next to any phrase, that’s a compliment. Take it and be strong, girl. You got this.