Verizon Commercial about Pretty Girls

I saw this commercial the other day.  It is pretty powerful.  Certainly made me think about what I said to Jessica and Emily growing up.  Did I say you look so pretty or you are so smart?  Did I say the same things to them that I said to Josh?  No doubt that words are powerful.  Being positive with the simple words such as you can do anything you set your mind to makes an impact.  Telling your kid that they look pretty or handsome makes them feel good but so does you are so smart.

Watch the ad.  Short, sweet and on point.

Comments (Archived):

  1. SallyBroom

    That is so powerful, thanks for sharing!

  2. Susan Rubinsky

    WOW! Awesome! I’m sharing 🙂

  3. lisa hickey

    Hi Joanne,Thanks for sharing that. Being the woman I am, that made me cry. (only half joking.) A few points to the commercial itself – I’ve long thought that dressing girls up in pretty dresses was the non-sexual version of a chastity belt. “Don’t get dirty” is the precursor “don’t have sex! You’ll get ‘dirty’.” Putting girls in dresses becomes a way of controlling girls actions from a very young age (subconsciously of course!). But when a girl is in a dress, she can’t rough and tumble, she can’t play in the dirt, she can’t “be like the boys”.Also – one reason this hit home for me was that as a child, I can’t tell you how many times I heard the words: “you’re too smart for your own good.” This was often said in anger, often by boys or men, and to my young ears sounded very much like a threat. The message was clear: “hide your intelligence at all costs.” It took me a long time to get over it—and even today I get versions of that message.Finally—looking at it from the other side— I run a website that is examining the changing gender roles in the world today — mostly from the POV of men, because that goes largely unexamined. Men are told equally harmful stereotypical words: “Man up”, “don’t cry”, “just get over it”, “boys will be boys” and a host of others. Men are also told they need to become a financial success in order to “get the woman” (and god forbid it’s not a women they want to “get”). Looking at the places in which the stereotypes about both women and men collide in potentially harmful ways is – I believe – a way to create powerful social change in this world. I’m thankful commercials like this one are getting the word out there so clearly and eloquently.We have to keep talking about these things to create the change we want to see in the world.

    1. Gotham Gal

      great comment lisa. it is so true about boys getting certain messages too. especially about not being able to cry. small words have big impacts to young ears.

  4. Craig Kanarick

    Hey Joanne, today Rebecca posted another similar video on, about “like a girl” — has some similar important statements to make:

    1. Gotham Gal

      this is awesome. i might have to repost as a separate blog.

    2. SallyBroom

      I was JUST about to post this – ha! SUCH an amazing video

      1. Gotham Gal

        i am definitely posting tmrw.

  5. Laura Yecies

    Very powerful ad and important issue. It is so ingrained in our society to talk about how pretty girls are and how smart/capable boys are – of course it’s going to have an effect. I thought this concept was powerful – simply taking the focus off appearance. Just imagine what possibilities and alternatives it opens up.

    1. Gotham Gal

      loved the no body talks at camp article too.

  6. pointsnfigures

    yuppp. When our kids were young we read a book by Sylvia Rimm. We immediately started to change the way we spoke to our daughters. Too soon to know if it worked, but they are scrappy.

    1. Gotham Gal

      scrappy is the best

      1. lolamd

        pointsnfigures – which book did you read?

  7. Christine

    Thanks for the great post. I am working like a girl on my startup today 🙂

  8. bsoist

    Wow! Thanks so much for sharing that. I had not seen that yet.

  9. candice

    This makes me so grateful for my parents. They might have been a little overboard on some things but we were encouraged to build, fix, take apart, use tools, repair cars…I find this stuff on my mind more now that there is a baby girl in the house.

    1. Gotham Gal

      hats off to your parents

  10. LE

    This was featured on CNN one or two nights ago in a segment that I saw on some news show. [1]They also featured this one (Pantene):…One thing about the Verizon commercial it’s a bit manipulative in that the boy is clearly older and not just a boy of the same age. So I’m wondering, regarding the point they are trying to make with that scene, why they didn’t use a boy of the same age.Telling your kid that they look pretty or handsome makes them feel good but so does you are so smart.Agree and super important.I get criticized for calling this “brainwashing” but I call it that in a positive way.When my kids were younger I reinforced in them that my parents were important simply by, every time my parents were coming up the driveway, acting excited that they had arrived! “LOOK IT’S GRANDMA AND GRANDPA!!!!”Like many people I was raised to think that certain professions were important not because of words my parents used but how they acted, and what they said about people in those professions. So it made an impact indirectly.So if you want your daughter to be an engineer don’t just say “you can be an engineer” talk positively in front of them (and to them) about women that are engineers and let them feel your positive feelings.[1] Amazing that I can’t even find a link so I can show you the discussion about this.

    1. Gotham Gal

      My mother would let us be anything except a teacher. She was for a short time and felt way under paid.

    2. Gotham Gal

      this is awesome.when i spoke at the women entrepreneur festival a few years back i said that women have to stop saying i am sorry. sorry for what?

  11. Jessie Arora

    Thanks for starting another important conversation here. As a mother of two girls and a former educator I’m so mindful of the language I use and actions that I praise. I have learned a lot from the work of Dr. Carol Dweck on growth mindset (… and how to encourage all kids to explore their interests and praise effort over outcomes. Love reading what others think and try with their kids. My older daughter (~ 4yo) has started to use the word ‘pretty’ a lot and I just try to observe and not overemphasize not using it because I think that could lead to its own issues.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Kids are like weather. Always changing. Don’t make a big deal and she won’t give it a thought

      1. Jessie Arora

        completely agree.

  12. JimHirshfield

    Love the sentiment and intent of this. But I read somewhere that by telling our daughters (and sons) that they’re smart we leave them with the impression that this is an innate characteristic – that either you’re smart or you’re not – that this can’t be changed.Better to use encouraging words like, “great job, I know you worked so hard on that assignment. You must be proud?”…which makes them realize there’s a cause and effect between working hard and gaining knowledge – that getting smarter is possible.For instance, I used to say to my daughter, “you’re so good at math!” (and she is). But then when she gets a math problem wrong or makes a mistake, she feels excessively frustrated because how could she have done such a thing if she’s “so good at math”?I definitely don’t dissuade my daughter like in the video you posted; quite the opposite. It’s hard work using the right encouraging words.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It reminded me that I have must be so proud of yourself