“So, what does being ‘like a girl’ mean to you?” Upon hearing my first question, I was greeted with a thoughtful frown from my interviewees, as if I was raising a senseless question.
“I think when you ask that, it means that someone’s making fun of you because you’re ‘like a girl’,” says Roseanne Tang, beauty vlogger turned pro makeup artist and educator at Bloom by Roseanne. “But we are girls, right? So there’s really nothing wrong with that.” Words of truth. Unfortunately, even from then till now, girls and women are still feeling less than empowered every day. Our conversations took a turn as I delved into a deeper significance of being ‘like a girl’.
Society is no doubt changing that perception. After Whisper launched their #LikeAGirl campaign in 2014, 76% of people surveyed said their perception of the phrase had changed after watching its campaign video. Since then, Whisper continues to advocate a collective message: girls are unstoppable. And their latest mission? Telling girls that they should never be afraid to fail.
(From left to right) Roseanne Tang; Sarah Lim; Cheryl Tay
“I studied in a convent school and excelled in sports and took up a lot of leadership positions. The sky is the limit as long as I put my heart and mind into it,” shares Sarah Lim, founder of online atelier, Juillet. “But when I went university, a girl in Electronic Engineering felt like a second-class citizen. The ratio of boys to girls was ten to one. In that environment, they seemed to think, ‘Oh, this girl will fail’. I simply accepted it as a norm [and] a failure.”
Are failures really setbacks? What does it mean to fail? To celebrate the launch of Whisper’s latest chapter, watch the video above to discover why failures are fuel for success. Then read on as three Singaporean women from different walks of life tell us how they fail, learn, and keep going #LikeAGirl. As Cheryl Tay, triathlete and founder of body image movement ‘Rock The Naked Truth’, puts it, “See it as a chance for you to shine as a girl and show your strength.” Because failure is only failure if you don’t even try.
Roseanne: Don’t let failure determine you
Roseanne Tang, beauty vlogger turned pro makeup artist & educator at Bloom by Roseanne
“I wanted to say that I’ve had a lot of big failures where I lost a lot of money, but it was more like little hiccups along the way. A lot of hard work was in the beginning when I haven't not had a space for my make-up studio, so I did my workshops outside my home. I remember one day when it started raining and I had to move all the furniture back in. It was a disaster, but I learned that if I can survive this time of my life, I could definitely survive a better time when I have a space for myself. I don’t see failures as failures; it was just something I had to go through to be better.
If you don’t fail then you don’t learn anything. You need failures actually, and you will always come out stronger. You can choose to let your failure determine the rest of your life, but then you can also choose to come out of it. And if you come out of it, you’ll always come out better.”
Sarah: Remember to reflect and take something away
Sarah Lim, founder of online atelier Juillet
“My [former] business took a turn for the worst. And when times are tough, you need to restructure, but my business partner was not aligned with me. He wanted to go for the masses while I wanted to go up-market. I saw that restructuring was a failure, so I raised the white flag and [was not afraid to] walk out of the business. I took time off and asked myself what was it that I really wanted and decided that I was going to start on a clean page.
With every failure — be it work or relationship or when things don't go your way — always remember to reflect and take something away. We should always learn and make sure to not repeat the same mistakes anymore. Things have turned 180 degrees for me. Juilletofficial.com was born, and I'm very thankful that I'm also a retail consultant helping SMEs with their digital transformation.”
Cheryl: Understand the emotional meaning of self-worth
Cheryl Tay, triathlete and founder of body image movement ‘Rock The Naked Truth’
“Early last year, after I started ‘Rock The Naked Truth’, I thought I had it all — then I went through a big breakup. I totally crumbled. I wasn't eating. I wasn't sleeping. I wasn't exercising. I didn’t want to work. [I thought the break-up was my failure. [But the truth is,] I failed at understanding the emotional meaning of self-worth.
My friends were like, ‘Hey, this is not you.’ And I realised, ‘Well yeah, you should not depend on anyone but yourself for validation.’ I learned that it all circled back to self-esteem and body image — because when you’re insecure about yourself, you tend to attract toxic people or tend to settle for less.
It was a very big blow to me, but it was also a ‘level up’ for me because I finally understood what self-worth is. There’s more to self-worth and self-love than just accepting how you look. There’s also the emotional power that builds our confidence to do more than less.”
Their #LikeAGirl emoji
Cheryl: The girl with one hand raised up. It’s her “Whatever!” response to whenever someone says, “Why do you do things like a girl?”
Sarah: It has to be the dancing girl duo. With a girlfriend or even your mummy, the happiest and saddest moments are best shared with your closest girlfriends.
Roseanne: The winky face, because I think girls might look like they’re classy and feminine on the outside, but we always have a “secret”. You’ll never know the whole story — that we can do a lot more than you think we can. It’s like a secret weapon.
Join Whisper to encourage girls everywhere to keep going, even when they fail. Share a post, video or image to show how you try, fail, learn and Keep Going #LikeAGirl.