LOS ANGELES –The latest ad by Always, the maker of sanitary pads, considers why girls lose confidence after puberty and clearly, it has struck a chord; in less than a week, it has more than 17 million views on YouTube.
It’s the latest in what’s becoming a trend of gender empowerment videos and campaigns by consumer products companies. In the past few months, Pantene raised questions about why women apologize, Dove urged women to appreciate their beauty and HelloFlo hilariously showcased a girl pretending to get her first period.
In the Always ad, adolescent girls, older women, boys and men are asked to demonstrate how to “run like a girl,” “fight like a girl” and “throw like a girl.”
They respond with negative stereotypes: arms flailing as they run, awkwardly slapping instead of making powerful punches.
Compare that with how girls 10 and younger answered: They were girls on fire, running as fast, hitting as hard and throwing as far as they could.
To them, running “like a girl” meant running like themselves.
“I started crying about halfway through the video,” said Rachel Hammond, editor of Mom Colored Glasses, an online magazine for moms, and a mom of three in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“I knew that girls suffered a confidence crisis at puberty but had no idea we would see such strong stereotypes played out and such a dramatic shift at puberty,” said Greenfield, who also directed the documentary “The Queen of Versailles,” about a billionaire and his family before and after the economy tanked in 2008.
“The other surprise was the people who acted out negative stereotypes were able to reflect on their own actions almost immediately,” she said. “It made us realize how deep and ingrained the stereotypes were, but also people’s desire to change them.”