Struggle for Gender Equality in the Commercial

Always is a brand that has been selling feminine products since 1983. This specific commercial is designed for both men and women and intends to lift women up by tearing down a major stereotype. It was aired during the 2015 Super Bowl to a wide range of viewers. The commercial is based around creating gender equality. Always wants to bring people together to lift one another and encourage people to support their message of having women’s backs. The commercial begins with a simple question. “What does it mean to do something ‘like a girl?’ ” Soft music plays as the first young woman walks out on set. Three young women, one young man, and one young boy are all asked to run, throw a ball, and fight “like a girl.” During the first half of the commercial, these five people perform the tasks in negative ways. Each of them run in place while they flail their arms and whine. They throw punches with limp hands, and act like they can not throw a ball.

Halfway through the commercial, they ask younger girls to perform the same tasks. The music begins to become uplifting and get louder as the commercial progresses. The young girls perform each activity with their best effort and with full confidence. They run as fast as they possibly can with determined faces, throw a ball to the best of their ability, and deliver knockout punches with all their might. Towards the end of the video a statement comes up reading “A girl’s confidence plummets during puberty. But it doesn’t have to.” Always effectively convinces the audience that the phrase “like a girl” does not have to be an insult by appealing to the audience’s emotions, making logical decisions throughout, and reaching a very large audience.

The commercial mainly appeals to the audience’s emotions. Always appeals to the audience’s emotions by starting the commercial with soft music to set the tone. In the beginning, the older girls are seen making fun of themselves by performing activities “like a girl” in a negative way. Many people can think of a time when they have used the phrase “like a girl” to describe an action in a negative light. Because many people can think of a time they used this term in a pessimistic way, it makes the audience feels guilty for any past remarks of this common stereotype. This is exactly what Always is intending to do. The girls are first asked to run “like a girl”. They all prance in place and flail their arms in the air to fit the stereotype set by society. It is obvious that if these girls were actually running, they would not run this way. They are then asked to fight “like a girl”. The girls throw pity slaps and act helpless, when in reality they would give it their best shot and throw normal punches.

Lastly the girls are asked to throw a ball. They all act like they have no clue how to do this. The purpose of the commercial is to change this stereotype and to empower women to feel confident in everything that they do. As soon as the younger girls are interviewed, the audience’s views are immediately changed because they perform the tasks in such a confident and aspiring manner. The audience can connect with the young girls on a personal level because the first girl tells us her name and age. First they are asked to run. All of the little girls run in place as fast as they can while thrusting their fists forward. They make the best throwing motion possible and they give the biggest punches their little bodies produce. The commercial states that “A girl’s confidence plummets during puberty. But it doesn’t have to.” After the audience reads this statement, they feel the need to get behind the message of gender equality that Always is trying push. Always uses this fact because the older woman were clearly less confident than the young girls. At the end of the commercial, a young girl is asked the question, “What does it mean to you when I say run like a girl.” The little girl responds by saying “It means run as fast as you can.” Her answers touch the audiences because the response seems so real and genuine. It sounds like the girl gave a heartfelt answer, rather than being scripted to say those words.

When looking deeper into this commercial, it makes a lot of logical sense. Always chose to air this commercial during the 2015 Super Bowl. Annually, this is one of the most watched televised events in America. Companies pay millions of dollars to air a commercial for just a short sixty seconds. Just because this commercial focuses on women, does not mean that they are the sole audience. Always intends this commercial to be for both male and female viewers. Many men care for women and want them to feel confident in everything that they do. To make chronological sense and effectively deliver their message, Always begins the commercial with the negative actions and they end it with the confident little girls. If this order was reversed, the commercial would not have the same meaning and message. If the young girls came out to begin the commercial, it would end in a sad way. Rather, bringing in the young girls towards the end of the video helps Always end with a positive and uplifting message. The background of the set is a plain blue screen. This is purposely done so that the audience will focus all of their attention on the people rather than get distracted by flashy colors.

For the most part, Always uses the same, straight on, camera angle to further this focus on the people interviewed in the commercial. These two intentions work together to help the audience pay attention to the message Always is trying to deliver through the commercial. Looking deeper into the commercial you will notice that none of the first five actors tell the audience their names. Always purposely has this happen. They do not want you to develop a personal connection with them. Halfway through the commercial, when the young girls come on set, the first girl tells her name and age. This helps the audience feel as if they can connect with her on a personal level.

To add to the effectiveness of the message, this commercial uses people of numerous races, ages, and genders. In the commercial there are men and women, young and old people, and multiple races represented. Without this diversity, the message would not have the same effect. The diversity of people interviewed shows that it is not just one type of person that holds the negative stereotype about women. Because of the diverse group of people interviewed, people realize that this is a relevant stereotype held by a majority of U.S. citizens. If only one race, gender, or age group was represented, people would feel as if there was not a real problem in the country.

The main goal of Always is to empower women to be confident in everything that they do. Always uses young girls because of their positive and confident attitude. They want to show that if young girls are so confident, every women should be able to have the same confidence. By showing the young girls overwhelming confidence, they achieve this goal perfectly. Another goal of Always is to bring all people together in supporting women. If society supports a stereotype that women are inferior to men, than women will never be able to have the confidence that they deserve. Their goal is explicitly stated at the end of the commercial when they state “Let’s make #likeagirl mean amazing things.” Because Always airs this commercial during one of the most televised events, they achieve their intended goal of reaching a large audience.

The commercial would not be as powerful if it were communicated in another way such as news article or book. If Always chose to write this commercial in the form of a news article, it would reach far less people and might go unnoticed. If this same commercial was aired at a random time, on a random show, on a random day, the message would not have the same impact. It was very important for Always to air this commercial during the 2015 Super Bowl so that they could reach the very large audience they were intending to reach.

This commercial was aired during a time when gender inequality was prevalent in the media. High profile figures in the U.S. were pushing to end gender inequality and fight for women’s rights. Because a lot of the U.S. agreed that there should be equality between all genders, this was a perfect time to release the commercial. With the support from many Americans, releasing a commercial about gender equality would not be a huge risk for the company. If this commercial was released at different time, Always may have failed to achieve their intended goal because they would lack support from the American people. Because there were many people pushing for gender equality, Always had a safe way to gain a large number of followers and join the fight for women.

Always fights for gender equality by releasing this commercial to the public during one of the most highly televised events of the year. Although they mainly appeal to people’s emotions in the commercial, much more can be found when digging deeper into it. Always effectively convinces the audience that the phrase “like a girl” does not have to be an insult by appealing to the audience’s emotions, making logical decisions throughout, and reaching a very large audience. They purposely give a simple commercial to focus the audience’s attention on the people interviewed. After the audiences watches older women make fun of themselves, they get to watch confident and aspiring little girls try their hardest to perform the same tasks as the women. Always achieved their intended goal to “Make #likeagirl mean amazing things”.