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How the Patriarchy Made “Like a Girl” Synonymous With “Weak”

Almost any kid growing up can remember hearing the phrase “like a girl” used as an insult. It degrades an entire gender. If you throw “like a girl”, you have a weak throw. If you run “like a girl”, you are frolicking slowly. The phrase “like a girl” has come to be synonymous with weakness and inability.

For younger kids and teens, all the way through high school, being called a girl or doing something “like a girl” is a huge insult. By using this phrase, we teach an entire generation that being a girl is shameful, something to be frowned upon.

We teach young girls that simply by being their gender they are already less than a boy.

Women’s rights are still being fought for today. In a time where a woman’s right to her body is somehow still a controversial topic, children are simultaneously being taught that being a girl is a sign of weakness. It’s something we see all the time, but this systematic oppression is so ingrained in us, we don’t often realize it’s happening before our very eyes.

Young girls explain to people that they are not “girly girls” with disgust in their voice because they have been taught that being a girl is frowned upon. They are taught that pink is a girly color, a show of being petty and an air-head. That dressing in skirts and dresses makes them less capable. That the height of their heels is a measure of their self-worth. That being a girl is the worst thing you can be.

But this is simply not true: Girls are powerful and intelligent. We can reject your societal norms. Let us stop teaching our children to say “like a girl” except when their voices reflect awe, and not disgust. Let us teach our youth that “like a girl” is synonymous with strength and to wear the phrase like a badge of honor. Let us not shame our girls. Instead, we will bring about a new meaning to the phrase “like a girl”. The patriarchy has had its turn, but now it is time that we transform “like a girl” into a medal, emblazoned across our chests with pride.

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I'm a freshman in high school and I write as if it's the only form of communication available.

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