"Run LIke a Girl"

Madi Poulin, Bullis '18

Why is this an insult? (Published: 2018)

What does it mean to “run like a girl?” This phrase could be considered insulting or indicate weakness. But why do we have this connotation? Female athletes including myself face the challenge of dealing with the ignorance of these words everyday. Yes, I am a girl. Yes, I run. Yes, I like sports. Why is all of that so hard to believe? Growing up I was told I couldn’t play soccer with the boys in my neighborhood because I played “like a girl.” At least that’s what one boy would tell me. Then another would say “you’re too delicate,” or “we’re actually competitive.” This discouragement had me playing hopscotch and sitting on the playground at recess rather than playing capture the flag or soccer on the field. However, I don’t want any young girls at recess now to face that same stigma that they cannot play sports and join in any game. To me, “running like a girl” represents strength. “Running like a girl” means empowering yourself to participate in the sports you love. “Running like a girl” does NOT mean weakness. To me, throwing like a girl means throwing hard, fast, and accurately. Throwing like a girl does NOT mean dainty or soft. Being a girl who likes sports means watching games on Saturdays. Being a girl who likes sports does NOT mean I only like a sports team because of a team’s jersey colors.

I run like a girl and throw like a girl and I am proud of that. In 1973, when she beat Bobby Riggs in a tennis match, Billie Jean King proved girls can play just as well as boys. Since then, dramatic strides have been made in women’s athletics, from grade school to the Olympics. I think we should no longer let girls be put down by boys because of the way they play sports. Girls should feel empowered to play sports and not have to play down their skills because sports are not considered feminine.

As female athletes, we should own and love our skills and bodies. Girls, appreciate and love those muscles you have developed through participation in athletics. Let’s all “run like girls!”