By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp
Do we limit girls and tell them what they should or shouldn’t be? Do we box them into expected roles?
“Always”, a feminine hygiene company in the USA promotes education about the menstrual cycle and fields questions from girls and young women related to this. In 2014 “Always” created an ad campaign designed to, of course, promote their products, but also to break down the barriers of the limitations society imposes on girls. The company did this by asking a range of girls and young women, of varying ages and ethnic backgrounds, whether they felt limited by society’s expectations and stereotypes of girls and women and if so, how.
The answer was shocking: 72% of girls said they DO feel society limits them – especially during puberty – a time when their confidence totally plummets. “Always” decided to begin what they call an “epic battle” to keep girls’ confidence high during puberty and beyond.
The original #LikeAGirl social experiment by “Always” started a conversation to boost confidence by changing the meaning of “like a girl” from an insult to a compliment. That conversation turned into major movement sweeping the globe. Interestingly, boys as well as girls, became interested in the campaign and agreed that many of these stereotypes, as well as others about boys and men, were damaging. One of the original “Always” ads can be viewed here:
Following on from this, “Always” sought to empower girls everywhere by encouraging them to smash limitations and be Unstoppable #LikeAGirl.
Always say that, “For more than three decades, we’ve made it our mission to empower young girls worldwide by educating millions of them about puberty and their cycle, so they can feel confident – any day of the month. Together, we’re making great change happen.”
Watching the videos created for this campaign is a great way of encouraging discussion among children and young people about gender stereotypes and gender roles, expectations and socially imposed limitations… a great one to share, to strengthen our daughters in their “Forever Years”.