You Throw Like A …

One of the best commercials during the Super Bowl (and by “best” I mean one that is clever and kept my attention) also carried a message worth saying and worth hearing whether you’re a man or a woman.

It sold menstrual pads.

As the commercial points out, girls experience a social stigma based on their sex and it grows greatly during the years they go through puberty.

Little girls think throwing a ball is just throwing a ball.

Older girls think throwing a ball is something to be ashamed of.

I probably wouldn’t have written anything about the #LikeAGirl commercial if it weren’t for a Christian pundit with thousands of Twitter followers who sent out dozens of tweets during the Super Bowl, including this:

Which prompted me to ask:

(And if his response is that he was only joking, that doesn’t match up well with the Bible’s take on that “excuse”.)

Who’s a Better Jumper?

I know a lot of girls and women who can throw, run and jump better than I can.

  • There was the girl I liked in 6th grade. She didn’t like me back but she did play one-on-one basketball with me. She always won.
  • One young woman I dated for a short time in law school had played softball on a college scholarship. Her throw from third to first put mine to shame every single game we played together. I can only dream that someone told me I threw just like her.
  • Then there’s the 17 year old runner from my town who is number one in the state (and number five nationally) for cross country. She can outrun every single one of those professional athletes who played in the Super Bowl.
  • And I can’t forget the trainer I took kickboxing lessons from. She could one-punch me to the ground. She was also a fashion model.

But even if a girl is not taught to throw or run or jump like a professional athlete, there is no reason to chastise her for it. Same goes for boys who aren’t skilled athletes. These are learned traits that some people find fun or helpful, but they are not what makes us valuable human beings no matter how much we pretend otherwise by making millionaires out of highly skilled football players.

People at that level make that much money because we pay big money for our entertainment, just like with singers and actors. If these athletes didn’t entertain us, they’d get no paycheck. I have nothing against paying athletes for what they do. After all, I watched the Super Bowl because I enjoy the sport and skill and strategy that goes into a contest at that level. But as I said above, these skills are not what make people valuable human beings.

Those millionaire athletes, and little girls and boys who like to run and play, as well as grown men and women who have never learned to throw a ball are all precious to God because he made them.

There’s no reason to put any of them down:

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27.)

and every reason to lift them all up:

There is neither … male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28.)

***

If someone insists on continuing this debate, here’s the last word on who’s better – women or men – from Annie Get Your Gun:

***

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35 Responses to You Throw Like A …

  1. janehinrichs says:

    Tim, That was my absolute favorite commerical. Every time I hear someone (and my kids have quit doing this because of my reaction) say something about being a girl in a negative way I get on them because it is wrong. That tweet you shared saddens me. I know nothing about Matt Walsh. If he is married and has daughters I pray God will give him understanding (and even if he doesn’t I pray he gets understanding). Thanks Tim.

  2. Laura Droege says:

    I once had a man tell me, “You think like a woman.” And given everything else he said after that, thinking like a woman was not thinking at all, it was only reacting with my emotions, and he meant it as an insult. “Thinking like a woman” was, to him, the realm of Democrats, idiots, and people who didn’t read the Bible. It was ridiculous. Bleh.

    Your thoughts echo much of what has been going through my head about gender dynamics. I’m trying to teach my daughters–ages 12 and 7–that being strong IS feminine, that they have a voice, and that God created men and women as equals, no matter what anyone else says. (So I don’t allow them to bash boys, either!)

    • Tim says:

      Laura, I’d say you do think like a woman. You think like Dorothy Sayers and Jane Austen and Marie Curie and Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart and all sorts of other women I could name.

      • Laura Droege says:

        That’s good philosophical company to keep!

        • Ruth says:

          That, Laura, is a compliment of deep quality! Those authors are magnificent….Dorothy Sayers is my all time favourite from this list. My copy of ‘Gaudy Night’ is falling apart, and I love her religious writings, for want of a better term.

        • Tim says:

          Gaudy Night is one of my favorite of the Harriet/Peter stories, Ruth.

          ________________________________

  3. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject, Tim. It seems like whatever men can do “better” (better usually being someone’s subjective idea of better or worse) is seen as a good thing to be able to do, while what women are supposedly better at is usually devalued. And if a woman does do something really well (like play elite level sport), she gets asked to twirl like Eugenie Bouchard was asked to do. Sigh. But I really like where your post ends up, reminding us that our value doesn’t come from our skills but from God’s delight in us as His creation.

    • Tim says:

      Right, Jeannie. Men’s superior skills are praiseworthy, Women’s superior skills are noted with condescension. What a horrible double standard, and also full of baloney. Except in feats of strength and speed where (for example) the fastest man in the world is faster than the fastest woman there are no areas where men are inherently better than woman at things, and there certainly are no areas where men are inherently better in the eternal matters that really are the ones that count.

  4. Erica M. says:

    Oh, Matt Walsh. Sometimes he says things that make sense,and then sometimes he does this.

    This post came at a perfect time. A friend of mine posted pictures on her Facebook of her time as an umpire. She ump’d for local schools and then went on to ump for MLB. She eventually quit because the harassment she experienced just for being a woman umpire finally outweighed her enjoyment of what she was doing. The men didn’t even think she was capable of making decisions about a game, much less playing it. (Which she can.)

    • Tim says:

      That’s a lousy commentary on the sport that is supposedly America’s Pastime. And when it comes to women and baseball, I could have included in the bullet points above the woman who managed my son’s first little league team. She played fast pitch co-ed baseball and was much more skilled at baseball and knew a lot more about the game than I did. I learned a lot from her.

  5. Pastor Bob says:

    There is a point to made with this little monologue – don’t read it too fast….
    I have been involved with youth and children’s ministries for a long time. I am a spiritual grandfather to many….
    I instill a key word/concept in all form the very beginning, this word starts with the letter “R” thus it is my “r” word.
    I have always encouraged the youth, for this is a challenging time, worse now than in the past.
    I have given attention to the young ladies, encouraging even more, since life seems to be very hard on the young lady, the false narratives, the facades that crumble – and more.
    I have taken teams to competitive activities, and seen them do well, in fact an all girl team destroyed the competition a few years ago. -They really worked hard and earned the victory!
    -Side note, that same team now, in high school felt they did not need to work so hard (they were ‘all that’) and this pride ruined their chances of winning. The middle school team, led by a caring talented young lady trounced the competition that year.
    It is one thing to talk about encouraging, it is another thing to do something about it (some have fear, for what will it look like if the MAN is talking with the GIRL? -keep all contact in the open!)
    The video is dated == (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMAlOwJPQns)

    The key word taught all, when tensions were high, different ethnic groups were not nice to each other, when football rivalries were growing, when opinions form with little fact, when kids and adults struggle to find themselves, when boys and girls fear and stare at each other, when girls scream at each other as they argue over a boy — and you know who in the middle of this (some activities were NOT Christian) that key word that was hammered home – to parents and the youth and children……………
    Starts with the letter “R” ……..
    +
    +
    +
    +
    +
    Respect.

  6. Brian says:

    Tim,I’m a dinosaur at 62 I find a lot of this sometimes confusing and extremist, undoubtedly a generational thing, so should women be allowed to be in the NHL and NFL or anything ? Is it always discrimanitory ? There are women in front line fighting in several countries but is it a good thing ? I don’t know if it’s true but I heard it is no longer the norm in Israel, it is a crazy situation with crazy nuances, I had a girlfriend played baseball better than all of our gang but she was also very feminine, I see so many women today that are hard and many downright nasty over this,I held a door one not long ago at an office and this striking woman snapped at me ” don’ think I can open a door ? Wowsers ! I would have held that door for any woman by the way and I still do. Thoughts ?

    • Tim says:

      You can see in my response to Jeannie that I spoke on the feats of strength and speed issues, Brian. If a woman is strong enough and fast enough to play against men, then she should be allowed to.

      As for anyone – woman or man – criticizing your common courtesy in holding the door for them, that says more about them than about your decision to be polite. I appreciate anyone who holds the door for me, whether it’s a she or a he.

    • keriwyattkent says:

      Brian, it’s totally fine to hold a door for someone else (male or female). it’s good manners. What Tim is writing about (I think), is saying “you throw like a girl” or “you run like a girl” in a tone and context that frames it as an insult, meaning, you throw poorly, or you run awkwardly or slowly. That’s what he (and a lot of women, and the commercials) were objecting to. It’s not saying women should be soldiers, but that we shouldn’t use “like a girl” as an insult. Does that make sense?

      • Brian Nisbet says:

        Keri THANKS very much ! your reply makes total sense and I missed the obvious in this which I am recently learning I do often much to my chagrin.

  7. Beth Caplin says:

    Part of me hates that I fall into “like a girl” stereotypes: I hate football (all sports, really, except ballet and figure skating WHICH COUNT AS SPORTS) and I can’t throw a ball to save my life. But I loved that commercial and as you suggested, if Matt Walsh teaches his daughter how to throw, his tweet and other viewpoints like it would be void.

    • Tim says:

      And you know that when it comes to stereotypes my love for Jane Austen’s writing would – if someone didn’t know me to be a man – identify me as most likely a woman. Sheesh.

      • Beth Caplin says:

        Reminds me of a male friend of mine who wonders if the reason he’s still single is because he loves musicals and female musicians over male bands, and gets looked over because women just assume he’s gay.

  8. Abby says:

    Three things. 1. I love these commercials. #Likeagirl has been around for a little while but I’m glad it got some publicity from the Super Bowl. 2. The little girl at the end looks just like my adorable niece who would probably answer the question the same way. 3. It’s been bugging me all day. Always doesn’t sell tampons, they sell pads. They *are* affiliated with Tampax, but Always is a “pad” company.

  9. Ruth says:

    Perhaps we could neutralize our ‘like a’. I can run like a rabbit, shoot a rifle, and bow and arrow straight as a dye, serve at volley ball like a cannon…but everything else I do…..like me…which is not very well at all…who else could or should I be like? Hey, I can knit like a man too, considering this came from Scotland etc where massive woolen jumpers were knitted by fishermen for freezing conditions! We should be respecting each other as you say, and encouraging our young people to use all their skills and be able to learn whatever they wish.
    ‘Lile a girl’ in Biblical times and in many cultures would have meant the opposite, no denigration to men either. Considering child birth alone should lend awesome weight to ‘like a girl’, instead of being a put down.
    Keep up,the posts Tim, something interesting every time!

  10. Bronwyn Lea says:

    By far, my favorite ad of the Super Bowl, and I am SO GLAD you took Matt Walsh up on his tweet. Sheesh. He should know better.

    • Tim says:

      I have to admit it’s tied for favorite for me. I can’t stop grinning at how Trejo and Buscemi fit right in as members of the Brady Bunch.

  11. Pastor Bob says:

    PS… My God-daughter at 60 1/2″, all of 105 pounds is not only a gun nut, but is int he Army as one who repairs small arms. You know who encouraged her!

  12. Nancy Le says:

    Haha! I love that song

  13. keriwyattkent says:

    Tim, also, for folks who say you run like a girl. When it comes to ultra distances, girls are beating the boys at many races. http://www.trailrunmag.com/2015/03/21/women-better-runners-than-men-research/

    • Tim says:

      I know the article was talking about men and women as classes to compare running ability, but when it comes to individual comparisons I can attest that my wife is a much better long distance runner than I am. When I get to 12 miles, all I can do is try to put on foot in front of the other through the fog that has descended over my eyes. She hits 12 and wonders whether there’s enough time to do 15, and then at 15 wonders if there’s still time to hit 18.

  14. Barb says:

    Really terrific blog and comments! Here’s my own: After breast cancer surgery, followed by chemo and radiation, I bought a great t-shirt that I wore for a long time. It was black with the pink “cancer ribbon”, and pink and gray boxing gloves. The caption was “Fight Like A Girl”. And we all did, and still do, as breast cancer can reappear anywhere in another place in the body.

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