Procter & Gamble didn't commission its #LikeAGirl video in response to the Ted Bishop-Ian Poulter dust-up, but the controversy created by the (now former) PGA of America president derisively calling the British golfer a "Lil Girl" on social media has put the female-empowering video back in the spotlight.
P&G’s social media campaign on behalf of its Always brand goes back to June 26, when the video was released on YouTube. The campaign seeks to bring to light just how hurtful the saying ‘Like a Girl’ can be. The video has chalked up more than 49 million views. In the past 30 days the #LikeAGirl hashtag has been tweeted more than 8,000 times and there are more than 72,000 Instagram posts tagged with it.
Over the past half-year women have taken center stage in the sports world several times, for better or worse. In August there was the inspirational story of Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year-old from Philadelphia who became the first girl to pitch a winning Little League World Series game. The saga of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee-now-wife in the face, which ultimately led to his indefinite suspension from the Baltimore Ravens, has been in the news most of the year. Then, on Thursday, Bishop sent the following tweet criticizing Poulter for criticizing Nick Faldo for criticizing Sergio Garcia.
— Ted Bishop (@tedbishop38pga) October 23, 2014
Poulter's response, issued to Golf Channel: "Is being called a "lil girl" meant to be derogatory or a put down?"
It was that kind of attitude that filmmaker Lauren Greenfield sought to defuse in the video, which she directed.
"In my work as a documentarian, I have witnessed the confidence crisis among girls and the negative impact of stereotypes first-hand," Greenfield says in the video's caption. "When the words 'like a girl' are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine 'like a girl' into a positive affirmation."
Now, albeit inadvertently, Bishop is a part of that movement, too. In a statement he issued after being removed from office by the PGA of America, he noted: "My two children, both girls, have made their careers in golf. I have a 4-year old granddaughter who I hope will someday play the game. In my 37-year career in golf, I have worked with many women to grow the sport and I have been a champion for inclusion and equal rights for women in golf." - Sean Steinemann