Yes, We Race Like Girls.

Earlier this month we shared a thought-provoking blog post by Angela Naeth: Topo elite, professional triathlete, and founder of the women’s endurance team and community, I Race Like a Girl. We also shared thoughts about the stigma attached to the label “girl” from several other members of the I Race Like a Girl team. Today, we share their quotes in their entirety and the responses we received from the community.

As a lady in her prime (50s) I have seen the rise and fall and stigma associated with being a voice for equality — from my early 70’s awakening (seeing the rewards and inclusion guys were offered over gals, example high school sports) I think we need to really focus on girl being not a negative connotation but strong and equal. I liken the analogy of girl to boy — boy has many negative cultural stereotypes often used to degrade men of certain race/ethnicity. Girl is equally submissive UNLESS we change it to denote our inner girl prior to awakening to the reality of the inequality in life. Girls at the preteen age are often fearless until we tell them they are too heavy, not good at math, must act lady-like when speaking up and out etc. – thus reframing girl to mean fearlessness, strength and compassion and ruler of the world perhaps! Just my two cents.” – Catherine O.

I often refer to myself and my friends as ‘girls’ or ‘chicks,’ not a ‘woman’ or ‘women’. A girl is a younger version of a female — and by younger, I mean not in age, but in heart. A girl can be 20 or a girl can be 60. It’s not age, it’s attitude. A girl is lively, strong, and fierce. A girl lives life out loud and with confidence, zest, vigor, and flavor. A girl is that unassuming 38 year old in perky pigtails and a trucker hat with a bright smile who will be the first to confidently step up to any challenge with intense eyes….and win. 

My grandmother died last year at 97. Up to the day she died, she wore lipstick to bed because she said, ‘You never know who will visit you in your dreams.’ She also repeatedly told me, ‘Remember, always be the most beautiful person in the room even when you look your worst.’ That’s a girl.”  – Victoria C.

I love the use of GIRL vs. woman. I think in recent years, our gender has been able to reclaim the word as a descriptor of power and strength vs. the previous times where being called a girl might have had a much more weak connotation. In fact, I love the idea of taking that connotation and ‘shoving it’ to society and show that we can be, and are in many ways, stronger than our male counterparts. I think that in a very male-dominated historical society, it is even more important to come together and show these boys what we can do!

Beyonce may have said it best, ‘who runs the world? GIRLS!’ So for me, iracelikeagirl = strength, iracelikeagirl = power, iracelikeagirl = breaking through boundaries, iracelikeagirl = showing a male-dominated sport that we belong and we are strong, iracelikeagirl = empowerment.” – Colleen S.

One thing I’ve noticed recently is the movement to put ‘girl’ in the title of books… 538 even did an article about it.

I get slightly upset when the word ‘girl’ is used in technical settings, like calling the women who did all of the calculations at the beginning of the space race ‘girls’ in the title of a book (Rise of the Rocket Girls). But somehow in the sense of athletics, I feel like it’s okay because you’re challenging the stereotype. Somehow it’s ‘bad’ to run like a girl or throw like a girl, and by using it in the team name we’re reclaiming it as a sense of pride. Because we do race like girls, and we’re kicking ass! :)” – Katherine P.

Here are some thoughts from the Topo community: