Women’s History Month starts on March 1st and in the spirit we’re sharing Topo Elite and World Class Triathlete Angela Naeth’s encouragement to stomp out the stigma associated with the word “term.” Angela founded and heads up a women’s endurance team and community called I Race Like A Girl, aiming to provide opportunities for girls and women of all ages and abilities to support, encourage and inspire one another in the sports of triathlon, cycling, running and swimming.
Ladies, let’s be girls again…and reclaim the word “girl,” empowering exactly what it means to be female. I’m in my thirties, I wear my hair in pigtails and I Race Like A Girl.
To me, the idea that being called a girl is a negative term is an unfortunate mindset. I know that not all women feel this way, that perhaps one feels when they are referred to being a girl, it’s an attempt to deny a woman of her power, grace, maturity, and strength. I Race Like A Girl is about just the opposite – it’s about celebrating what it means to be feminine. As a team, we are emboldened with the same fierceness women embrace during a night out with the “girls”. This is the strength behind the girl. We are a community of women/ladies/gals that use ‘girl’ to support all ages and all abilities in sport – all with a bit of splash of feminine sass!
Lauren Greenfield, producer of the Always ‘like a girl” movement, was commissioned by the brand ALWAYS (Proctor and Gamble) to produce an ad campaign that explores and uncovers the negative connotations of “like a girl”. When asked to act out common phrases like “hit like a girl” or “run like a girl”, participants turned to stereotypes assorted with the term “girl”. Lauren said “it made us realize how deep and ingrained the stereotypes were, but also people’s desire to change them.”
Like the campaign, I Race Like A Girl is about redefining what it means to be “like a girl.” We achieve this by showing up and giving it our best… every race, every day.
Tabby Biddle said it best in her article on Huff Post. “I think my occasional turn toward calling other women (myself included) ‘girl’ is a way to reclaim some of my own girl power. To me, this means a person who is fun, adventurous, exploratory and bold. A woman to me is strong, confident, responsible, nurturing and global in her thinking. Probably the most important piece to all of this is the integration of girl power with woman power in each woman herself, allowing a dance between the two.”
That’s exactly where the spirit and drive of I Race Like A Girl comes from, the dance between embodying what it means to be a girl AND a woman – combining both sides our inner strength, beauty, and power!