The little red dot in the distance is my amazing fiancé on a peaceful beach in Silloth. Worth a visit!
He needs to ‘man up’. I HATE those words. Above is an image with just one man who means very much to me and the thought of him being told to ‘man up’ makes me feel both sad and angry, along with evoking a hundred other negative thoughts in my mind.
If you weren’t already aware, I am a feminist and I’m all about equality. For all people, genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities and any other element that you want to add into the mix. But for now, let’s go back to ‘man up’. These two little words have become a phrase that I can’t seem to get away from. I hear it so often and despite this, each time, my stomach turns and I feel so tempted to interrupt whatever conversation is taking place to say that these words are not okay. Unfortunately, ‘man up’ has made its way into the public and private sphere and into everyday conversation. Publicly, I regularly overhear it on the train during my commute, in cafes and restaurants whilst having lunch, and even whilst just walking in the street. I have also even heard some of my own friends and family members use it and since they have the pleasure of personally knowing me, I do tell them about the many reasons why they shouldn’t use the phrase and why I think that it is wrong.
Man up is not okay. Man up gives the wrong idea. Man up suggests that all males have to be the same type of person. Man up creates the idea that there is an ideal and that if you don’t fit into this category, that there is something wrong with you. Man up has so many negative, damaging and life changing implications. And these toxic ideas of masculinity should not have a place in society. It’s 2019 people!
The thought of people feeling unable to express their emotions, feeling pressured to hold in their tears, feeling obligated to put on an act to ‘man up’, ‘not be soft’ and ‘be the man’ that society and many people in it pressure them into being, because of their gender, disgusts me. These expectations are completely unfair, uncalled for and are quite frankly damaging. All people of all genders should be free to express their feelings without judgement and ‘man up’ makes some people unable to.
I feel lucky that my fiancé feels comfortable in showing emotion, vulnerability, and expressing his true feelings. I also make sure that I do all that I can to let him know that all of the these things are completely natural and normal and in fact, they make me love him even more. I am also more than aware that many people all over the world are detrimentally affected by ‘man up’ and the toxic ideas of masculinity which are attached to the phrase. As an English graduate, writer and lover of language, I personally love words and the power and influence that they can have. I too know how words can create static ideas, can evoke strong feelings and can even cause damage, if used in the wrong way. That’s why these two little words; ‘Man up’, have to go.
*On a side note, for those of you who are still unsure or confused about feminism. Feminism is all about equality and in particular, equality of the sexes. And if you’re wondering why I’m so passionate about ‘man up’, as a woman, I know too well about inequality and the struggles of fighting against societal expectations to be the person you want to be and I will not sit back and let inequality to continue right in front of me.
How do you feel about the term ‘man up’? Does it impact you in any way?
What do you do to combat inequality in society?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
P.S You may also like this post about the term Girl Boss and female gender identity.