Aside from major life tragedies (sickness, loss, prejudice, poverty, war, death), is there anything worse than crying in front of coworkers?
That moment when you feel your cheeks turning red, are unable to blink fast enough to stave off tears, and lose all control in an environment where self-composure and confidence hail supreme?
Usually there’s not a worse feeling. But not this time, my friends.
This time, I felt a mixture of silly embarrassment and glorious pride as I blotted the corners of my eyes. I didn’t mind in the least bit that the instructor’s gaze landed directly on mine or that my coworkers heard my sniffling.
I was taking part in a Community Health Worker training class and we were discussing cultural intelligence; in particular, how gender roles are established and reinforced.
The instructor casually dropped a bomb on me when I was least expecting it. It came in the form of a YouTube clip about a campaign I had read about months ago, but had never taken the time to actually watch: Always #LikeAGirl
This 3-minute video gives a glimpse into how fragile the identity of a female is as she transitions from a little girl into an adolescent and beyond. How seemingly innocent words that are directed at her, about her, with little to no regard of her internal drive or ability, but rather solely focused on her external anatomy, can have lasting consequences.
The athlete in me wanted to scream out DON’T EVER DOUBT YOURSELF! to 10-year old Dakota, the feisty brunette dressed in the rainbow-striped tank top.
The mother in me wanted to throw my arms around the boy in yellow who came to the realization, with a wee bit of nudging from Director Lauren Greenfield, that he will think before he judges girls – including his sister – in the future.
The writer in me wanted to capture all the thoughts spinning round and round in my head…
One of those being how fascinated I am in seeing the reverse side of the coin: What is means to do things #LikeABoy.
Another being how grateful I am that a feminine hygiene product company finally got it right with their customer messaging.
And, lastly, I wondered why I was so deeply affected watching it considering I’ve always considered myself to be a confident person. I guess it just reminded me of times in my life when I doubted myself.
This video tugged on my heart because it gave a voice to those who have felt wrongly judged.
Everyone has a burden to carry, a hurdle to clear, a story to tell. You have the right to write your story.
Here’s another fun video just because. GO GIRLS!
Written by Heidi Woodard