Good news first, okay? Yesterday was my first meeting with my new class of freshman comp, and it was great. Sixteen really wonderful ladies who seemed engaged and eager. What more could I ask for? Also on the good news front, I got two more sections lined up for the fall semester. Really excited about all the time to work once Kiddo is doing the kindergarten thing. Just have to get her registered on Friday (also exciting.)
This is as much of my face as anyone is allowed to see today. Made for an awkward morning.
Now for the actual bad news. Like much of the bad news out there, this little doozie started as good news. Sunday night on the testosterone fest that is the SuperBowl, Always aired a shortened version of their #likeagirl campaign commercial. One commercial about the female empowerment in a sea of beer, trucks, and sex. One. Now, allow me to preface my impending rant with this little qualification: I am not a fan of retail companies using things like feminism/girl power/whatever-you-want-to-call-it to shill a product. (I'm looking at you, Dove.) But as far as girl power commercials go, this one was pretty good. The only reference to the brand at all was at the very end of the spot and was simply a flash of the name Always. And the message was spot on. From doing things "like a girl" to more R-rated insults like, "pussy," being told you do things like you have two X chromosomes is almost never intended as a compliment. Where as phrases like, "Man up" and "Grow a pair" imply a need for testicles in order to be brave or assertive, or even skilled.
So what I'm about to say now, is nothing that you can't read elsewhere. There are lots of writers/reporters/bloggers/pissed-off-women out there writing their fingers to the bone about the Twitter backlash to Sunday night's commercial, the super-original #likeaboy. Yes, from sofas and recliners everywhere, hordes of brave men went online to demand a menstrual product commercial of their own, one that demands that we all stop using the insult "like a boy." Oh wait. You've never heard anyone say that in a derogatory fashion? (Or seen a man menstruate for that matter.) The closest you've ever come is the old chestnut, "Boys will be boys," always said with a wink and a nod to their charming rascality? Yeah, me too.
Here's the thing. There is nothing I can do about the basement dwellers and frat bros who participate in Twitter trends like, #likeaboy and #NotAllMen. Arguing with them, pointing out the inequities between men and women's status in this country is an exercise in futility. What I can do is plead with the men I know and love to stop and think before posting another mindless rejoinder to Twitter with one of these hashtags. Does what you're about to type build up women? (Or humans in general, for that matter.) If not, then don't post it. A television commercial that celebrates being female is not an assault on men or manhood. In fact, it has NOTHING to do with manhood, and until men start making less than women for the same work, struggling with advancement because they are perceived as baby machines, objectified in every form of media (including ads for products marketed to them), harassed on the street and told to smile about it, published less, had their bodies criticized and analyzed more, mocked by pundits for their hairstyle and makeup, and basically told to go home where they belong, I'm not worried about you being marginalized by some smart little girls with confidence.
My suggestion to all the men out there who have amazing girls and women in their lives? Go to Twitter and post about that. Tell the world how your daughter won the science fair #likeagirl. Your wife kicked ass in a marathon #likeagirl. Your mother fought cancer valiantly #likeagirl. If you don't know any women or girls out there doing things #likeagirl, then I suggest you leave your house/office/men's-only-club/panic room/fallout bunker and mingle with the other half of the world's population. But be warned. We take no prisoners, just #likeagirl.