Monday, June 30, 2014

Like A Girl

I keep a reasonably close eye on the various social media out there and occasionally see things that touch a nerve.

The latest is from one of my favourite Youtube people, Kim from the Yogscast. The tweet was : "This video is important and explains my despair over the phrase 'like a girl' FYI... I hit pretty damn hard"

After witnessing the feistiness on the videos, I definitely believe that last bit !

Go watch the video, it'll hopefully challenge some of how you view other people.

The key thing is - why do we use derogatory terms ? Why do we turn ordinary terms into derogatory terms ? Gay used to mean happy people, now it's used as an anti-word. And that's just one example.

I use the word "girl" to describe a few people. In the old team we had the BM girls (Business Management), some of whom were older than me. And I'm getting on a bit. I've had the pleasure to work with and learn from a few different groups of Finance Girls. A couple of whom are retired now. So why do I use "girl" ? For me, it evokes : Youth, Keenness, Energy (and yeah, a definite amount of Pretty too). Our BM and Finance Girls were also highly competent at what they did and gave us immense support.

Oh - there's the Little Canteen Girl too as another label I used. Wonder how she's getting on now ? Haven't seen her for ages. Anyway, that term was meant affectionately, I hope she'd have taken it that way.

My reply on the Twitter was that I throw like the proverbial girl. Which is both correct and incorrect. I can still power throw ... but if I do I'm highly likely to follow it with a scream of pain as my arm tries to follow the ball. I was down to maybe half a good throw by the time my cricket career was finished last year. That's down to a torn rotator cuff injury which did actually heal to some degree but got reinjured a few years later (badminton again).

My answer was to try and avoid fielding in positions where I'd be out of range of my throwing ability. That worked out because I'm more suited to being close due to agility, speed and general crazy/idiocy.

I'll continue to use the word "girl" as a descriptor but hopefully it'll always come across as a mark of respect instead of the opposite. I used it as a mark of Youth, Keen, Energy, Pretty.

For the Little Lady who sparked this all off, there's a couple of people in the Yogscast who need a mention here. I watch almost all of what they come out with. They're the Kim and Hannah I've mentioned before. Why do I highlight them ? Because they consistently come out with videos I think I really high quality. They make me laugh, they make me sad. All as appropriate for what's happening in the game. I've enjoyed watching their playthroughs more than I have enjoyed playing the game.

It's not just the commentary, it's the emotion that they inject in there as well. And a huge sense of Fun too. They pull that off in a way that the Yogscast boys struggle with.

So yeah - if it's a case of saying which videos I prefer, I say #LikeA(Yogscast)Girl. (Zoey's included there too but hasn't been playing games I've been interested in lately)

I do think there is a place for some derogatory terms though. You can't have helped see that there's a World Cup happening at the moment. And what does that bring ? Footballers ?

Cheating, scheming, foul mouthed, pathetic and a bunch of other words I could use !

Compare - Prasana Jayawardene - he broke his hand in the First Test against England but continued to play through that game. He ground out a few runs to help his side to a well earned draw.
Any Average Footballer - they'll go down like a shot if someone even waves closely at them. They'll try and trick the ref into thinking they've been fouled. They'll play act serious injuries in order to get opponents cautioned.

That's why I don't support football, I have no respect for the players. Don't use Like A Girl as a term for weak, use Like A Footballer. It's far more accurate.

Cricket gives another example. The ladies in cricket don't have the power of the men but what they lack in power, they more than make up for in skill. When their world cup was first televised, you could tell that some of the commentators had a "why are we here, this is a joke ?" attitude. Until they saw the girls play. And what we saw was a lot of Smarts being applied to game as well as lots of skill. Deftness and agility replaced power. It's a different game and equally good to watch.

Women are physiologically more suited to jobs like flying fighter aircraft. On average, they're shorter which makes them more able to resist g-forces (fact). Plus there's that multi-tasking thingy. So why don't we see more women flying in the military ? You'll have to ask our politicians and senior military people about that.

It's definitely not a physical issue, our FNC Girl (Little Lisa) could easily run rings around me and I'm quick. I gave a little cheer when I heard that our Lisa would be involved with us again as she definitely fits that Youth, Energy, Keen collection of tags.

So yeah - derogatory terms. Think before you use them. They may hurt people in all kinds of ways you never considered. They attack confidence. They hold people back.

I'll close with - Yogscast went to E3 recently. Who did the serious reporting there ? The Yogscast Girls. And it was good, informative stuff too, covering the questions we wanted answering.

May all our reporting come at the quality #LikeA(Yogscast)Girl.

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