1. Kevin Kehres says

    @2: Wut?

    You think it’s “unprincipled” for the manufacturer of feminine hygiene products to sponsor messages that empower girls?

    How…exactly…’splain it to me. Exactly and precisely how is it “unprincipled”? What – they might sell more tampons because women have a higher opinion of them as a company? Again — this is “unprincipled” how?

    I think you and I have a very different idea of what “principled” means. And what it means to be “unprincipled”.

    Not everything every corporation does is evil.

  2. Francisco Bacopa says

    A good start. Once they start including USA Eagles women’s rugby trading cards in every package I will believe them.

  3. says

    Yes, good message. The one place I never heard ‘like a girl’ was in swim/dive team. We rocked, and everyone knew it.

    Rich Woods @ 2:

    The funding is, well, probably not so principled.

    Why? It shouldn’t be a mystery that some young women will require menstrual products. The message may or may not influence which products a young woman buys, however, that doesn’t take away from the message at all, which might just wake a few people up.* It’s not as though you see athletic teams doing a spot like this, making a statement as to the importance of seeing young women as people, people who are as every bit as capable as those young men.
    *Like the boy in the ad: “yeah, it’s insulting girls, but not my sister!” Perhaps he’ll think a bit more now.

  4. says

    raefn @ 9, those are women, not girls. I appreciate the sentiment and examples, however, this whole business of girl = woman has to stop.

  5. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    About the only thing that would lead me to think that the funding wasn’t principled was that it comes from the same people who bring you laundry detergents and the commercials where nearly everyone doing the laundry is a woman. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of 2012 when we got the first hint of relaxation of the sexist stereotype.

  6. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Not to mention all the commercials for P&G products like Mr. Clean where the woman needs a help from a man in order to get her kitchen floors spotless…

  7. says

    I was pretty sure I saw a campaign (maybe featuring women athletes?) within the past couple of years trying to turn “throw like a girl” into a positive compliment, but I can’t find anything about it. I’m in Ontario and it may have been local (GTA, Ontario, or Canadian) I’m not sure.

  8. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Still, They are making amends, and this is good. More of this please.

  9. says

    As an aside, during my googling, I came up with lots of sexism (as might be expected), including multiple descriptions of a Volkswagen commercial from last year in which a dad who doesn’t know how to throw teaching his son how to throw a ball. The commercial itself said nothing about the quality of the throwing, sexist or otherwise, but apparently everyone talking about the commercial or searching for it has dad and boy “throwing like a girl.” Sexism hurts.

  10. says


    Still, They are making amends, and this is good. More of this please.

    Yes, change is good. I’d like to see more like this too.

  11. ck says

    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble wrote:

    Not to mention all the commercials for P&G products like Mr. Clean where the woman needs a help from a man in order to get her kitchen floors spotless…

    Even those are a-changing.

  12. says

    I regret those times I have described my throwing ability by saying, “I throw like a girl”. I offer my apologies.

    To put a positive spin on the marketing, while marketeers are as a class venal and two-faced, and will change moral heading faster than a weathercock in a tornado, take heart from the fact that these marketeers think they can make money by associating their client’s product with a positive feminist message. The danger is when they think they can elide the positive message into something simplistic in the manner of South Park‘s underpants gnomes. “Feminism! Therefore Always!”

  13. JPS says

    Occasionally Jon Stewart on the Daily Show uses “like a girl” as a put-down. I cringe.

  14. plainenglish says

    @17. Inaji et al, yes indeed…. Even if we have to consider the corporate goal as suspect at times, the content of this series of images seems world-building to me and not simply ‘grab’….. more, please…

  15. says

    Back in the early 90s in Science News I read about a study where they tested that ‘throw like a girl’ thing. They took a bunch of kids and had them throw. And it turned out, even correcting for strength, on average boys threw further and more accurately than girls.

    Except for some girls who went for throwing sports like baseball. They threw as well as the boys. So they brought the kids back, and had them throw with their non-dominant hands. And then everyone ‘threw like girls’. It’s just unpracticed throwing.

    So girls can throw, but in our society few of them ever learn. I was in college then so I actually looked up the original paper. But I’ve lost the reference. Does this ring a bell for anyone?

  16. says

    Ray @#23
    It’s all learned behaviors, you’re completely right.

    I remember fondly when I was 30, and participated in a kendo tournament; wound up seeding in the first round against a 12-year-old girl from Tokyo who was visiting and dropped in for the competition because she happened to have her gear with her…

    She hammered me into the floor like I was a thumbtack. “Like a girl.” It was awesome.

  17. says

    @tony – I understand what you’re saying, and that’s normally how I’d say it. I used the “girl” reference only because of the context.

    I try to avoid gendered language entirely, fwiw.

  18. says

    Oh yeah, “girl” as an insult.
    I think the spot effectively demonstrated how much young women have internalized those stereotypes themselves.
    One of my best friends sadly uses “act like a girl”, too.
    Her standard phrase when she wants to object to something (!) is “I don’t want to sound like a girl, but (could you please shut the window, I’m cold)” or “maybe I act like a girl, but…”
    So she pts down her won needs as being actually something she should not have and she puts down girls as a whole.
    I told her not to use that phrase in my household where her own godsdamn goddaughter and her sister live. She sticks to my rules but she does not understand it.

  19. says

    The “fun” thing about using “you throw like a girl” as an insult is that it’s a double sexist doozy. In an alternate universe Earth where there’s no sexism, “you throw like a girl” is a perfectly prejudice-free insult that basically means “you throw like a child,” though in context it would be gender-matched with “you throw like a boy” used for men.

    Here on the real Earth, “you throw like a girl” is a sexist insult because first women are infantilized so that the term “girl” is used to mean “woman” and then are declared inherently inferior so that being compared to one is insulting.

  20. says

    @ Marcus #24: There is nothing like being bested by a woman in “a mans game”. The women that break out of the gender stereotypes are usually amazing persons in every respect, although one has to wonder how much it has cost them.

  21. twas brillig (stevem) says


    Occasionally Jon Stewart on the Daily Show uses “like a girl” as a put-down. I cringe.

    Yeah, taken as a single line, out of context; it is cringe-worthy, but whenever I have seen him say it, he always giggles to indicate it is a sexist comment, and done just for the satire. But, I know, I am too much a fan of Daily Show and allow him so much.
    “throw like a girl”, takes me back to the quip, in “A League of Their Own”, when the pitcher, is told by one of her teammates, “oh, just ‘throw like a girl’, that you are ;-)” [emoticon was her facial expression]. The irony of the quip was a highlight of the movie.

  22. says

    @Marcus Ranum (24)

    My college roommate was in a martial arts tournament and the Aikido competition came around. There was this big, tall, strong guy and this scrappy little young woman. My roommate described the awesomeness when the man rushed the woman and she flipped him basically over her head.

  23. pinkey says

    Good video, nice message. I’m proud that in the (rock) climbing community, it’s a compliment to climb “like a girl”. No insult whatsoever.

    For exmaple: (copied from the internet)

    “Females are almost always better climbers than men – they’re just a much smaller percentage of the climbing community.

    Take it as a given that technique is a far better weapon against gravity than brute strength. Women (under most circumstances have a lower center of mass than men, and are more flexible. They also, yes, tend to weigh less. The only advantage men have in climbing is typically greater upper-body strength, and that really only comes into play on power routes with heavy overhang.

    Being told you “climb like a girl” is a compliment.

    Unfortunately, I know of no other community where this is the case…

  24. barbaz says

    PZ, you blog like a girl!

    The funding is, well, probably not so principled.

    So capitalism is now a bad thing?

    I mean, I think it’s just natural that a company with a very specific customer group (yes, I just called half-the-population “very specific”) takes an interest in problems of that group that go beyond the products that they sell. I don’t think it’s less principled than companies who have their names printed on jerseys of popular sport teams.

  25. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    I’m reminded of an episode of Rugrats that had the following one-off gag:

    Two of the characters are a pair of twins (Phil and Lil) who are – as they are toddlers – are more or less identical-looking when they’re diapered, except that Lil wears a barrette in her hair.

    The gag features Phil taking Lil’s barrette and putting it in his hair. He then starts fussing. Their mother comes over, picks him up, and comments to another adult, “Girls this age are always so fussy. But look at Phil! He never cries.”

    Objective evidence indicates that there’s no real difference in the behavior of young children. But caregivers tend to report that girls are, well, girly and boys are boyish.