I still remember the words from the kids I grew up with: "you shoot like a girl, Carl!" or, one time, "don't be such a girl!" after telling a friend that he upset me. All the ways I was told not be "like a girl" growing up only escalated as I got older. Once you reach the point where you actually go into a locker room before gym class, far more than likely you're told you're "built like a girl" or made fun of for a lack of chest hair. Looking back, I have no idea where that way of thinking came from. No one tells you as a kid to act that way. It was in the spring of 2000 when "No Strings Attached" by NSYCN came out and I told my buddies I liked it, only to be made fun of. "You listen to girl music. Are you gay?" In high school in the midwest, I was "like a girl" because I grew my hair out and wore "tight" jeans (they weren't). Throughout my childhood and teenage years, everything that was deemed un-manly to others meant it was like "what a girl" would do. I joined the military, and there it's even worse. You wanna talk about your feelings? Don't even try it! "Man up" meant don't talk about anything — bottle it up and lash out on others by telling them to do the same. But this isn't new; I'm more than likely not the only one who has had these moments. And I'm very aware I won't be the last. But I'm constantly asking myself why. As a new husband, I gladly accept that I'm half as good at my job as my wife is at hers. If I had as much drive as she does, I'd gladly accept that I work like a girl. We have to kick this habit of equating a man not performing as he "should," based on an arbitrary standard set by another man, with acting "like a girl." Over the past year, this has really stuck with me, and I wanted to try and help change this way of thinking. If we show the young men and boys behind us just how powerful "like a girl" can be. Could it change how that phrase is used? Maybe the real hope is we stop using it at all. But from where I stand, we have to do better. I shot this series with all of that in mind. I don't have all the answers to how we do better, I just know I myself am trying to do better. With all of this in my mind, I wanted to photograph a few friends of mine who I've always seen as strong, powerful women. I've seen them give nothing but 100 percent on everything they do — especially in their love for running. Their names are Mona, Emma, and Paige (L-R). They're badass women and they put the exclamation mark behind the meaning of Run Like a Girl!
clothing by Tracksmith
all photos shot on location in Washington, DC on April 14th, 2018.