During a time when most of our newsfeeds are filled with duck-face selfies, people airing dirty laundry, and hash tags galore, social media is catching a lot of flack, perhaps deservedly so, for being futile and self-indulgent. That’s part of the fun of it, right? Thankfully, in addition to the abundance of trivial, unfiltered material that social media is infamous for, it is in fact capable of being used to spread some pretty powerful positive messages too.
I myself being guilty of using social media for less than cerebral purposes, (I’m notorious for unabashedly clicking on videos of epically choreographed wedding reception dance routines on a regular basis), broke customs last week when I stumbled upon a video entitled #LikeAGirl, in my newsfeed. The video explores how young adults and children, both male and female, interpret the adage “like a girl,” when paired with an action. The responses of the participants are insightful, and if you’ve got about 3 minutes to spare, I encourage you to click the link below and watch for yourself.
By releasing this video, Always brand has managed to not only appeal to their target demographic on an emotional level, but also get their name circulated on the internet without mention of a specific product. Pretty ingenious.
#LikeAGirl is one of many videos out there that is attempting to defy the connotation that femininity is a deficiency and women don’t measure up to men when it comes to physical performance. While it is entertaining to share videos that are lighthearted and aimed to garner a quick laugh, it is becoming increasingly essential to pass along positive social media messages that aim to educate; videos that teach young adults not to equate self-worth with how many “Likes” a post receives, and destroying the notion that if what we share doesn’t get at least 173 “thumbs-up” from our virtual friends, then something must be wrong with the part of ourselves we’re sharing with them. (Side note: I don’t even know 173 people).
As someone who has worked in a classroom for over 7 years, earned two degrees and taken countless courses on childhood growth and development, I will tell you first hand that there is no level of education and experience to prepare you for seeing a child’s spirit, broken, the first time someone makes her feel incapable. Regardless of gender or age, there are countless forces out there telling children (and adults) what our limits are that we’ve grown accustomed to accepting other people’s preconceived notions as our own reality. I applaud the efforts of individuals and companies who are willing to spend their time and energy to create videos and articles that challenge social stigmas and persuade people to think differently.
For companies, using social media to empower prospective customers might just be a trend worth participating in. After all, as consumers we may be more likely to invest in the products of a company that is willing to return the favor and invest in us.