What does it mean to run ‘like a girl,’ to scream ‘like a girl,’ to act ‘like a girl’? If you’re anything like me, you’ve heard that phrase before – and whether spoken with malice or innocence, there’s something about it that just doesn’t sit well. Regardless of the implication, it’s a negative stereotype. It’s a way of separating the sexes. It’s a way of undercutting the strength and power that every single woman possesses, just by existing on this earth.
And contemporary feminism pushes back against that phrase, disregarding all negativity and saying, instead, that to be ‘like a girl’ is to be confident, resilient, brilliant and strong.
In an Instagram account, @yourunlikeagirl, creator and compiler Nadia Addesi gathers empowering stories from real women, sharing what the phrase means to them in their personal struggles, journeys, and lives.
Here are a few of the posts:
“I don’t worry about what other people think because I am perfect just the way I am and my life is perfect just the way I live it. I want to show the world that Down Syndrome is UP Syndrome. From me to all you young girls and women out there, You are perfect just the way you are!”
2. Lillian Martinez
“I’m still working on loving myself, but I’m definitely stronger and more confident now than I was a few years ago. I don’t really care what others think or say. It’s all about discovering who you are and loving yourself and all of your imperfections. Life is about being happy. Don’t waste your time paying attention to the haters but instead pay attention to what makes you smile!”
3. Angie Ardolf
“Don’t ever let anything stand in your way of becoming who and what you want to be. You are the only person who knows what is best for you, and you have infinite strength and wisdom within! Tap into what makes your heart sing and you will be led exactly where you need to be. Also, be nice to every single person you meet. You never know who could have the key to the door you’ve been wishing would open.”
4. Lexie Manion
“You don’t HAVE to always look like a 10. What matters is that you feel like a 10, or that you are working towards that number (because you deserve to feel good about yourself!). We may have days we don’t want to wear makeup, or form fitting clothing, or more risqué outfits. That doesn’t mean that we hate ourselves or that we were faking being confident all along. It just means whatever because it simply doesn’t matter. Confidence isn’t just how we look; it can also be seen in how we speak, and in how we treat ourselves and others.”
5. Hülya Durmaz
“I think it is important that people start seeing beauty not as a concept but as something which can be seen in all of us. I do realize that seeing a woman with only half a body, seeing scars, leg stumps and deformed hands is not considered beautiful. But this isn’t the point, beauty lies in the fact that me and thousands of other people out there do not hide their weaknesses but show that this is nothing to be ashamed about. Beauty does not lie in scars or missing limbs but in the self confidence to be able to show these scars and be happy with who you are in this world.”
6. Maylan Chavez
“Be happy in the face of adversity, and the sun will always shine again. If you are disabled like me, please remember there’s nothing you can’t do. And if you aren’t, please remember that we all share this experience called life, and there is never any difference between you or any other human being.”
These are just a few of the incredibly empowering stories, but with every photo comes words from REAL women, shedding light on their real experiences, challenges, battles, fights, and successes.
What impresses me the most about this account, and the main website, You Run Like A Girl is the vulnerability and openness these women share with the world. Not only are they being transparent about their imperfections, but they’re acknowledging their humanness and ways they’ve overcome obstacles in their lives. They don’t see themselves as less, simply because of the things they face – in fact, it’s the opposite – their differences/complications/challenges/setbacks have empowered them to exceed limits and reach farther than they ever imagined.
Stumbling across this site was just another reminder that as women, we must take pride in being ‘like a girl.’ Instead of seeing that phrase as an insult, let’s see it as an inspiration.
We are women. Powerful women. Resilient women.
Bold women. Fearless women. Successful women.
Women that break stereotypes and expectations every single day.