Conformity and It’s Affect on Self Esteem

Goldberg, H. (2014, June 26). This Ad Completely Redefines the Phrase “Like a Girl” Retrieved November 9, 2015, from
This video is part of the “Like a Girl” campaign. In this video, males and females of various ages are asked to act out different actions “like a girl.” Each one of them performs the action in weak manner as if doing something like a girl lacks strength. The video then shows girls who are younger, to do the same actions like a girl. They all do these with full force because to them, doing something like a girl is giving it all you got. This brings a question to the stigma that society uses the term “like a girl” to describe something that has a negative connotation or something that displays weakness.
I chose this source because it brings a question as to why women conform to this social norm that doing anything like a girl is a bad thing. We as a society tend to follow trends and shape how we act based on what others think. We spend a lot of time worrying about other’s perceptions of ourselves so much that if we are doing something outside of the norm, we let it affect our self esteem. In an article from KTLA 5, a story is shared of a 13 year old girl who committed suicide by jumping off of a bridge following the release of a video of her father punishing her for something she had done. Further, “Board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Jodi Gold told WPIX that parents who are at a loss as to how to best help a bullied child, the first step is to make sure you’re not part of the problem.” What wasn’t meant as a malicious act by the father, eventually pushed this little girl over the edge. This public shaming video has the same effect on self esteem that getting teased for doing something like a girl does. It may not be meant as a put down but the affects can be detrimental. Girls already deal with so much pressure to conform to society’s expectations of them. To make them feel bad for being who they are is not only unhealthy, but extremely unnecessary.
My reaction when I first saw this video was shock. I was shocked that everyone unanimously associated “like a girl” with weakness. What shocked me the most was that when the segment went over the little girls, they all associated “like a girl” with strength. What happens in adolescence that changes a girl’s opinion from being confident about being a girl to being ashamed? Is it something we do as parents? Is it society? Whatever the cause, I am glad to see this campaign. Doing something like a girl is not something that should be associated with negativity. I have always seen efforts for female empowerment but nothing specifically for girls and I think that this ad targets the most fragile age in development.

4 thoughts on “Conformity and It’s Affect on Self Esteem

  1. nancywaldridge says:

    This really surprised me. I’m familiar with “like a girl” being meant in an insulting way, but to look at the differences between younger girls embracing who they are and other girls giving in to the insult is a little bit shocking. I also find it shocking that the teenage girl and the younger boy both associated it with an insult however they both said something to the effect that they knew it was an insult and it wasn’t okay afterwards even though they did it anyway.


  2. anthonys90 says:

    Good choice of article. It is very true that everyone seems to think its funny to make fun of someone coining the phrase “like a girl”. Of course it is not true girls are not weak and shouldn’t be viewed as weak. We all need to stop seeing each other as targets for ridicule and it needs to start with how we raise our kids and what they see they will do. Most parents will joke around at home at “poke fun” at someone without realizing that the kids will go on to do the same to other kids because they think “it’s funny”.


  3. jml1123 says:

    I am also familiar with the phrase “like a girl” i think this can be a bit of an insult to most women because some of them are not weak and are able to perform a task a lot better than a male can. I also don think its a bad that if a girl is labeled “like a girl” after she does something because she is a girl and there are things she is good at and things she is not good at just like everyone else. I agree with this article when it says that we tend to spend a lot of time worrying about other people’s perceptions of ourselves which as a result affects our self esteem. Its a shame of what happens when people try to live up to the social norms of others.


  4. mayraesc says:

    I have seen this video before! I love the fact that the younger girls actually tried with all they had. Just goes to show how society can influence you to think differently as you grow. The younger girls probably were not around the negative “like a girl” comments as much as the older girls who probably heard that all the time. As you grow you have to chose to either conform with what people say and be a “weak” girl who needs the strength of a man around, or rebel against those thoughts and say to yourself that you do not need a man and can do things for yourself. This reminded me of always hearing “because you are a girl” growing up, I hated it! I have seen some girls totally turn against their parents when they say this so they sneak out of the house or do whatever they want even though their parents said no. Then there are girls who conform to their parents rules and do not go out. This is an example of how conformity is not always a bad thing! 🙂


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