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More hashtag envy: “Meninists” complain that everything isn’t about them #LikeAMeninist

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Always, the company that sells menstrual products, ran a minute-long Super Bowl spot trimmed down from their longer #LikeAGirl video released this summer. The ad challenges the stereotype that running, throwing, and fighting “like a girl” indicates weakness and ineptitude by running the expression by adults (and one young boy), and then by a series of girls who haven’t yet been told that “like a girl” is usually meant as a bad thing.

(Transcript at the bottom.)

Responses to the #LikeAGirl hashtag were immediate and positive, with women taking to Twitter to share stories and pictures of sporting prowess as well as performance in the military, in science and medicine, in business, in farming — wherever men’s performance is praised and women’s performance is minimized, there was a woman proudly tweeting that she does her job #LikeAGirl and it’s awesome.

And then it took about ten minutes for the meninists — this is a thing, apparently — to start protesting the “inequality” that there wasn’t another commercial (also produced by a tampon company?) for #LikeABoy.

Congratulations! There was one already! It was called “the Super Bowl.”

This is always a thing. We saw it with #YesAllMen and #AllLivesMatter. You know what? No one is denying that men have struggles in everyday life — they’re just pointing out, in one spot on the Internet, that there’s a crapload of experiences that women have on a daily basis that are overlooked, dismissed, or flat-out denied by society. And by the number of reactions from men that boiled down to, “Holy shit, this stuff really happens? I had no idea,” it seems like #YesAllWoman probably was a necessary thing. Ditto #AllLivesMatter — yes, as a matter of fact, all lives do matter, but since it’s generally not white people who get beaten, shot, and killed for minor infractions and then demonized and blamed for their own deaths, #BlackLivesMatter points out something that hasn’t been reinforced as status quo of late.

Demanding a #LikeABoy commercial is just stupid. Flat-out stupid. Not because encouraging boys to have self-confidence during puberty or challenging gender stereotypes is bad, but because “like a boy” has never been assigned a negative connotation. Even “like a man,” an expression that has been infinitely harmful to men and boys, isn’t itself considered an insult. You got a naked woman eating a huge cheeseburger, an ad that was basically entirely about cleavage, and a Fiat that more or less literally turned into an erection. And you got an ad celebrating dads and another one celebrating dads and an ad celebrating the triumph of the human spirit featuring a little boy and another one celebrating dads.

What in the everliving fuck are you complaining about?

Guys, it’s not all about you. No one has taken anything away from you. Stop peeing your pants #LikeAnInfant just because someone is getting attention who isn’t you. Trust me that you are not lacking for positive representations in Western media. Just for a minute, stop worrying about what you’re not getting and think about what other people aren’t getting. Trust me, that Carl’s Jr. ad will still be there when you get back.

“#LikeAGirl” transcript:

A crew sets up behind the scenes in a brightly lit studio as a young woman steps up to her mark.

SUPER. What does it mean to do something “like a girl”?

DIRECTOR (O.S.). Show me what it looks like to run like a girl.

A series of people — young women, a boy, a young man — demonstrate mincing, flailing steps. One pushes her hair out of her face and whines, “My hair.”

DIRECTOR (O.S.). Show me what it looks like to fight like a girl.

The individuals demonstrate giggling slap-fighting.

DIRECTOR (O.S.). Now throw like a girl.

A boy pretends to throw a ball, but instead drops it and says, “Aw.”

SUPER. When did doing something “like a girl” become an insult?

DIRECTOR (O.S.). So, do you think you just insulted your sister?

BOY. No! I mean, yeah. Insulted girls, but not my sister.

SUPER: Then we asked young girls.

DAKOTA. My name is Dakota, and I’m ten years old.

DIRECTOR (O.S.). Show me what it looks like to run like a girl.

Dakota and a series of girls her age run furiously and fiercely in place. One little girl in a pink princess dress tears across the set at full speed.

DIRECTOR (O.S.). Throw like a girl.

The girls throw imaginary fastballs.

DIRECTOR (O.S.). Fight like a girl.

Fearsome punches.

SUPER. A girl’s confidence plummets during puberty. But it doesn’t have to.

DIRECTOR (O.S.). What does it mean to you when I say “run like a girl”?

PRINCESS DRESS. It means run fast as you can.

SUPER. Let’s make #LikeAGirl mean amazing things.

LOGO. Rewrite the Rules. Always.

19 thoughts on More hashtag envy: “Meninists” complain that everything isn’t about them #LikeAMeninist

  1. You know, if the men had taken stereotypically-feminine things and said they did them #likeaman while promoting the #likeagirl stuff, I’d be all over that shit. Because it would be the other side of the coin: ‘be active and fearless like a girl; be sensitive and compassionate like a man’.

    Boys don’t need to be told to be active and fearless and successful #likeaboy, because they get that message every day in their lives.

  2. I like that commercial, hadn’t seen it before. And I agree that it’s ridiculous to ask for a “likeaboy” hashtag because of it.

    For what it’s worth, #Hashtag envy is also a pretty clear recognition that #Hashtag activism is supremely ruled by feminist activists. I can’t think of any cause that has used that social media tool as effectively as feminists. Couple that with the declining share of mind of traditional media, and you’re really looking at a public opinion arena that is quite different from what it was even five years ago. In terms of participants as well as in terms of topics. I mean, the whole yes-means-yes thing? I’d attribute that mostly to the #Hashtags. Has there been a single #meninist hashtag with even remote social impact? I can’t think of anything. So, enjoy that success, I’d say.

    That said…

    “but because “like a boy” has never been assigned a negative connotation. Even “like a man,” an expression that has been infinitely harmful to men and boys, isn’t itself considered an insult.”

    You’re kidding, right? I mean, yes, maybe if you’re insisting on the exact terminology. But that’s also a bit unfair. You could easily shoot a similar commercial about stereotypes connected to “boys will be boys”, which is usually about bad stuff boys/guys/men do and can’t change supposedly because they’re who they are. You don’t think of that as insulting?

    1. My Pet Theory:

      I think feminism is about giving voice to marginalized narratives and meninism is about misogyny. Since misogyny is not a marginalized narrative, not that many people need the catharsis of expressing it in a group setting through a shared hashtag. They are able to express their misogyny in various ways throughout the day.

      1. I don’t know, I think misogyny is relegated to “throughout the day” because on twitter it seems like it is – maybe not exactly marginalized – but still, a less and less acceptable position for actual discourse.

        1. I will admit to not using Twitter, because I am both verbose and have great personal aesthetic needs for my own spelling and punctuation.

    2. “Boys will be boys” is used to excuse and condone rowdy and mischievous stuff boys do by expressing approval that the boys in question are acting rough and tumble like boys are supposed to. So no, it’s not insulting, and it’s not part of a cultural denigration of boys.

      Give me a fucking break.

      1. I was walking down the hall in a school right before class change when a boy stuck his head out of one of the classrooms and catcalled at me while the teacher was distracted. When I complained to the teacher, he just shrugged and said, “Boys will be boys.”

      2. agreed. “Boys will be boys” gives males more power to act out. “like a girl” (the hurtful connotation) tells females that they aren’t “good enough” to play like or with the males.

        I liked that ad when I saw it. generally I hate pretty much any commercial, just based on it being a commercial, but that one seemed worthy.

  3. Meninist though? Really?

    There’s some really cute birds cuddling on a chimney outside my window. They’re all clumped together.

  4. I suppose there are times that “just like a man” is intended to be insulting — as in old movies, TV shows and TV commercials when some clumsy oaf of a husband attempts to enter the “female sphere” by attempting to cook, clean, do laundry, or change a diaper with disastrous (but allegedly humorous) results, leading to the wife shaking her head and uttering those words. Ricky and Fred trying to cook rice, etc.

    Of course, the scenario is condescendingly and fundamentally sexist as well, because of the underlying implication that women (are men) are limited to separate spheres, and that a “real man” shouldn’t be good at any of those things.

  5. Write #LikeAGirl, y’all. Tear their empty heads off with a fragile plastic keyboard.
    Seriously, who is the stronger sex-the one which put up with all this shite for millenia or the sex which howls with offended ego, like a baby with a full diaper, if they can’t monopolize every dialogue into a monologue?

  6. Is there anything stopping them from tweeting instances of men knitting, diapering babies, comforting a male friend having an emotional breakdown, etc with #LikeAMan? (#likeaboy is only ever derogatory when compared to men — separate the boys from the men, etc — so they should go with #LikeAMan instead of #LikeABoy)

    Hell, I’ll take pictures of my son with his pink kitty lunchbox and my older son with his collection of My Little Pony figurines and tweet them under #LikeABoy if they wanna get butthurt about it. 🙂

    1. I am reminded of the time when I was holding and cuddling my baby son throughout a family gathering — some years prior to my transition — and an elderly (male) member of my family commented, “Oh, so you’re one of those mommy-daddies?”

      I was so astonished (and angry) that I was rendered speechless (I couldn’t think of an appropriate response), but of course I was thinking to myself, “little do you know.” Nonetheless, that person had some nerve, and I never forgot what he said. Even as long ago as the early 1990’s, it wasn’t the least bit unusual for fathers (cis and otherwise) to do what I was doing, and, yes, change diapers regularly, and take care of their children “all by themselves” without calling it “babysitting”! And the idea that doing so transformed a daddy into a “mommy-daddy” was absurd.

      I would hope that we haven’t gone backwards since then. So people should definitely make clear that it’s “LikeAMan” to do that kind of thing, and the other things you mentioned.

      1. Even back in the Jurassic Age (1960’s), when I was a kid, I remember when my mother was in the hospital, my father took care of us when he wasn’t at work. It never occurred to me that that wasn’t what daddies did. I’m fairly sure I remember him changing my sister’s diapers (she was 9 years younger than me) and generally doing what was needed. It’s where I got the idea that a Real Man(tm) Does What Needs To Be Done (And Doesn’t Whine About It.) He wasn’t exactly cuddley, but what he did was genuine (in contrast to my mother, who I always felt was pretending to be a mother, rather than being one.)

        I guess that’s why I feel contempt for these guys. They want us to call them “Men(tm)”, but they don’t want to do what’s required to earn it.

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