a girl in society. In the 2014 Always "LikeAGirl" campaign, the company asked teenage girls and boys to perform various activities "like a girl," such as running, throwing a ball or fighting. Then, they brought in much younger girls and asked them to perform the same activities. The results were astounding. The older teens – boys and girls – used exaggerated "prissy" movements to show how a girl would do the activities. The younger girls simply performed the activities to the best of their ability. Lauren Greenfield, filmmaker and director of the "LikeAGirl" video said, "In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand. When the words 'like a girl' are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering." By using this phrase, we teach boys that girls are not capable; girls are weak; girls are not as good as boys; and doing anything like a girl would do something is a very bad thing.
Challenging The Stereotypes There are many ways parents can counteract gender stereotypes at home. • Try to avoid gender specific phrases such as "that's women's work," "be a man," "that's not ladylike" or "that's a man's job." • Encourage your children to have friends of both genders • Praise and reinforce respectful behaviors toward all people • Don't discourage your children from participating in what society believes to be gender specific actvities if they have an interest. For example, boys taking dance or cooking classes or girls trying out for the football or wrestling team. • Allow your children to choose the clothing they prefer. If your son would rather wear purple or pink shirts instead of traditional "boy" colors, let him. If your daughter wants to dress up like Spiderman® for Halloween, let her. • If you see a blatant gender stereotype on television, call it out. Explain to your child that even though you only see women wearing rubber gloves on TV, that doesn't mean men don't do their share of the dishes in the home. • Have your children help with all of the
household chores – regardless of their gender. Ask your daughter to take out the trash or cut the grass. Ask your son to cook dinner or take care of the dusting. By learning how to do all of the household chores, your children will be well-equipped to handle any chore when they are out on their own one day. • Don't focus your praise only on physical attributes. Tell your daughter how intelligent and athletic she is as well as beautiful. Tell your son how kind and caring he is as well as strong.
The Impact Gender stereotypes can have a negative impact on boys and girls, can limit choices regarding extracurricular activities and academic subjects, may prohibit interactions with others and may inhibit them from creating respectful and authentic relationships today and in the future. Let's stop limiting our children to society's version of what it means to be a man or a woman and, instead, allow them to fully embrace what it means to be a wonderful human being and productive member of society, regardless of their gender. WGW
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