‘throw like a girl’ vs ‘write like a boy’


These are both derogratory phrases that are used to criticise people when they are failing at an activity. But only the first is used at the moment by a company to sell their product to women. Since it is well known that the world of advertising cares very little about ethics and that most advertisements are not a faithful representation of the real world but show a version of reality that their parimary customers find appealing and, since buying decissions are primarily driven by emotions, ads that make women feel good are bound to drive up the sale of the advertised female product. Ironically, a number of women and men felt that they weren’t showing the company enough gratitude for making them feel good, by buying their product. They subsequently went on promoting the ad and with it the product on social media, claiming that the interest of the company was not to sell a product but to empower girls. Sure, and the interest of Kellog’s is not to sell sugar coated wheat flakes but to promote awareness of tigers 😉

Surely, at a first look the ad looks great, especially the cute baseball girl (unsurprisingly chosen as cover in all articles) that instantly reminds many women of their own rowdy childhood. Scenes come to mind of being told off for dirtying your nice dress when you went off roaming in the meadows during a boring tea party with boring relatives. But when the boy comes into the picture and basically apologises for being a boy (‘male privilege’) the thing stops being feel good and makes one wonder about the world we live in. A world in which little girls are told that they are born victims and to make up for that birth perceived birth defect the rest of the world, in particular boys and men, now need to bow at their feet forever. After watching this as I was no longer surprised that sex selective abortion in Northern America favours girls over boys. Bringing up boys in an environment, where they are constantly bombarded with girl power messages and taught to apologise for having been born a boy, must be hard. Seeing this little shamed boy made me udnerstand why boys are already in parimary school lagging behind girls.

Last week and Indian website came to the bizarre conclusion that “Everything about women is turned into phrases that insinuate weakness or inability in some way or the other.” (http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2014/07/watch-mean-something-likeagirl/)

Throw like a girl_Youth Ki AwaazA week later, Pakistani Express Tribune claimed that “when you tell someone that she is throwing like a girl, you are telling her she is doing it incorrectly, and the correct way to do it is to throw “like a boy”. If men and women were equally good at playing baseball, I wonder why they are not playing in mixed teams. Is the writer going to petition the Olympic Committee to have men and women compete together and not separately as it’s done at the moment? That is obviously not her aim. Just as the Youth Ki Awaaz writer her opinon is that ANY kind of weakness is associated with femaleness. “You are indirectly telling girls that they are not as skilled as boys and are inferior to them.” I didn’t need to think for long to reason that this claim does not hold true.

Throw like a boy_ET

The first thing that came to mind when reading that were the numerous times that I have been told that I am ‘walking like a man’. That was certainly never meant as a compliment for a strength that I posess but rather as a criticism for a weakness that I have. Being constantly in a rush and thus making rather long strides and no elegant small steps, as my friend once tried to teach me in vain, is certainly a weakness. That my weakness is pointed out by comparinng my actions to those of a man does not exactly speak positively for the way we see men.
A similar example would be someone who has bad handwriting and is being told that they ‘write like a boy’. Certainly not a compliment.

So what if a boy has done something really well? ‘Your essay is great! Did your sister write it for you?’ ‘That shirt looks nice. Did your wife buy it for you?’

After thinking of some of these gender related insults and praises I realised that everything connected to maleness was about physical strength and everything connected to femaleness was about mental ability, creativity, ability for precision. While even in a post-industrial world we still need people who can do hard labour – something the people who claim we don’t need mean don’t want to admit – the qualities that are higher valued and that guarantee access to the jobs with the highest salaries and most appreciation are those connected to the traits identified as positive in females. Thus, what we see here is a win-win situation for women but with impressive mental gymnastics Feminists have managed to turn it into a victim situation for women. It is mind boggling!

“Even though these adverts, in my opinion, are just a source of making money, I would rather have such commercials than those which support the sexist status-quo and make you take a shame-based guilt trip.” (http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/23178/throwing-like-a-girl-is-not-an-insult/)

Ironically the writer ends with the conclusion that ads like these are going against the status quo when by presenting only one part of an issue, the part that is negative towards women, are very much in line with established thinking that women are weak victims and need to be saved and protected. This is is one of the most sexist ads out there. I’d rather have any anorexic supermodel promoting a car than Procter and Gamble telling me that I am disadvanatged because I do not posesses the same physical strength as a man, when physical stregth is not even valued very highly in our post-industrial society.

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