Why it isn't an insult to do anything "like a girl"
It’s a playground taunt that has been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth (yep, even T-Rexes had to put up with this rubbish).
“You throw like a girl!"
Whenever someone would inevitably squawk that put-down at me in our PE class, I would feel myself shrink; embarrassed by my femininity, by the boobs that had sprouted one day on my chest and refused to move, by the knowledge that I was, supposedly, always going to be worse at sport than the boys in my class.
I heard, “you throw like a girl” and understood that doing anything “like a girl” was an insult. There was something bad about being associated with girls, despite that fact that, you know... I was one.
Because girls are bad at throwing, right? Girls are bad at sports. Girls are weak and delicate and are only good to be cheerleaders, or (if they’re really lucky!), the wives and girlfriends of sportsmen.
Here’s what I wish I had said to the kids who had tried to use “like a girl” as an insult:
Because doing anything “like a girl” shouldn’t be an insult, it should be a compliment. Let's remind ourselves of a few cold, hard facts:
- Twenty-six of 58 gold medals Team GB won at the Rio Olympics were won by girls.
- (One of whom, by the way, was the first in history to win an Olympic boxing title – your girl Nicola Adams up there.)
- A girl wrote the best-selling book series in history.
- Our Prime Minister is a girl and a girl is probably going to be the next President of the United States of America.
- There is a girl up in space right now, living in the International Space Station as a flight engineer.
So yes, I throw like a girl, and I’m damn proud of it.