Thursday, May 19, 2011

Run Like a Girl Makes Me Think of…

On Monday night at a great event at the JCC in Manhattan, I asked what people thought of when they heard the expression “run like a girl.” These are some of the answers I got (unedited and unexpurgated):

Walk like a man. Flailing around. Inept.

Who wants to run like a man? All I imagine is a Vin Diesel or the Rock, huffing and puffing. What a gorilla! I’d rather be a girl.

Reminds me of my dad saying, “It’s a good thing you don’t run like a girl,” perplexing to me when I was a teenager.

When I was in middle and high school, the most popular girl, Denise, was a total jock—and a great runner (and v-ball player). I envied her, and that’s one thing I think of.

I think fragile—in part because of the skinny, colt-legged 8th grade girl runners, who look so fragile, but really, they’re pretty fierce.

When I was a young girl, running like a girl meant to pretend to run but to make sure to look good at the same time and not mess my hair and dress sexy at the same time.


In school, I hated gym, pretended to have cramps as often as possible and now I am a committed runner and biker. What happened?

Run like a girl implies youthful exuberance, letting go, achieving an early goal---being an achiever right from the start. I see a movie with a young woman out on a broad swath of land, running down a lane, the wind in her hair…she is happy and so are we joyous watching her.

Makes me think of running wispily, uncoordinated and sort of mincingly. Reminds me of my daughter playing basketball in middle school and they were crying and playing at the same time.

Makes me think of a non-purposefully kind of gangly running. Not goal oriented.

Reminds me of running so fast that my feet barely touched the ground. I was thirteen, skinny and never so free. Reminds me of when I was in 8th grade, and I beat all of the boys on the high school track team in the 100 yard dash. But there was no girls track team for me, the girl who could outrun all the boys.

Being weaker, or made to feel weaker—even though you know you can do it better, just lack confidence.

Trying to keep up with a man. Walking quickly while wearing heels. Elementary school relay races. Anti-gay slurs.

Reminds me of relay races in grade school. Girls weren’t as fast as boys, and never would be! So why ever try to win?

Running freely, like a seven-year old.

I once had a t-shirt that said, “whoever said last man standing wins never asked the girl to play.” I wore it till it shredded.

Makes me think of an uncoordinated, legs and arms, flailing, clumsy girl—trying to run, but barely doing it.

Youthful, carefree, bliss, yet vulnerable.

Makes me think about my jogathon when I ran 9 miles in 2 hours. I was one of two girls that ran this much. I felt proud, and I showed the guys that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Then: Endless summer afternoons playing kickball with the kids (boys and girls) on the block. The losing team was subjected to the paddy-wack treatment by the winning team before the winners pranced around the losers “running like girls.”

Do not look butch. If you are running for your life, run like a guy.

Reminds me of what my ten-year old serious softball playing daughter is learning to do: throw like a girl! And that is meant in a good way. She has had the good fortune of wonderful male and female coaches and we’ve watched many high school and college softball games. The upshot—she’s learning to throw like a girl—and she’s got a bullet!

Gawky, aimless and silly.

Clumsy and uncoordinated.

Run freely, with wind on one’s back.

When I was told that I run like a girl—it meant that I did not have good running form. Anyone could run faster than me. My arms were all wrong.

I remember 10-12 year old kids making fun of a boy who “ran like a girl.”

Reminds me of the term “take back the night” From the marches of the 80’s—it’s about reclaiming something that was taken.

Being so confident as to be able to overcome cultural bias—without blinking—and just do it!

I picture a woman with a very short skirt, high heels, probably drunk, running to try to get a taxi.

Means…watching an Ethiopian or Kenyan woman win the marathon. Game on men!

Run like girls, emphasis on the plural—there is something magical, unique and indescribable about the sisterhood between female athletes. Rock on title IX.

Running feels like freedom—like being a kid again—joyful…

Reminds me of being made fun of by the older kids on the playground in school.

Forget the “like a girl.” Just RUN.