Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Will Have to Be Boys...

Usually as a means to avoid elevating my blood pressure I have stopped watching the news. I will get the headlines that I need, the information that is pertinent but I refuse to have cable news on 24/7 which does nothing but sensationalize events. It also doesn't help people like me who hear the word "recalled" and think "My God! I may have ecoli!!" even though I haven't eaten meat in years. We're sensitive to fear mongering. And by "we're" I basically mean "me."

But today I wasn't in charge of the television in front of me and I could only read the headline on the bottom of the screen which read: "Kerry Tells Snowden to 'Man Up' and Come Home." I read it a couple of times because, in general, sight is not my forte. But I didn't misread anything. A government official in speaking out against a national security threat said "man up." Let me be straight- this has nothing to do with political affiliation. I don't care if it was a man, woman, or Muppet behind that microphone. All I hear are the words and those are enough for me to have a reaction... and that reaction doesn't include my feelings on a NSA leaker.

According to the dictionary, "to man up" means "to be brave enough or tough enough to deal with an unpleasant situation." It is considered "the phrasal verb of 'Man'." Just sit for a second and take that in... A couple more seconds... I'm not going anywhere.

Now let me throw this one at you. There is no dictionary definition for "woman up." There is an Urban Dictionary definition which I won't click on. The fact that the definition only exists on that site says more about the situation than I could.

So how's your blood pressure now?

In order to step up to the plate, take responsibility for what you have done, stop evading the inevitable, and become a brave/tough individual, whether male or female, one must "man up." And even more so, this is being used as a term in messages of national security.

I'm just going to call it right here and now: Bullshit. (Sorry mom. I'll take my soap later... Dove, if you don't mind).

The year is 2014. I think we can have a better term to use than "man up." I am not the conductor of the Politically Correct Train by any means but some phrases just rub me the wrong way. We are trying to crack down on using phrases such as "that's so gay" and "retarded" but we fail to realize what exactly "man up" really means. It means that the only way to show courage and strength is to demonstrate the characteristics of a male. And that's not fair.

While I was sick and during my current recovery I am using the phrase "fight like a girl." Because, breaking news, girls have the ability to be courageous, brave and strong. These are not traits merely possessed by the male species despite what many believe. Moira Smith, a decorated NYPD officer, selflessly gave her life saving others on the morning of September 11th. She was a hero and a woman. Malala Yousafzail, as a female teenager stood up to the Taliban in Pakistan to defend her right to an education. She showed bravery and courage in the face of death at the hands of terrorists. To be more detailed, if Malala had "manned up" she would have emulated the gender that was persecuting her in the first place. If Clara Barton had "manned up" she would have been on the battlefield dying along with the soldiers instead of putting her life on the line to save theirs.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of women I could mention that never had to "man up" to do anything. They exuded their own courage. They demonstrated their own heroism. They were "tough enough" as women to do what they felt was the right thing to do no matter what their gender.

It is time we start changing our thought process when it comes to gender lines. And I think it would be a great stepping stone if the American government could at least refrain from using the term "man up." Women no longer want to be shown as the damsel in distress waiting in the wings for a man to rescue her. They are no longer (and never were) the victim and should not be subjected to terminology that makes them out to be one. Let's change the language and let's change it now.

Perhaps, if I were to go out on a limb here, I could simply start using the phrase "woman up" in times when someone is sick or injured. Eluding to the fact that a woman can withstand the incredible pain of childbirth means that your broken leg out there on the football field is nothing more than something you should just stop and "woman up" to. You didn't just deliver another human being with several pushes.

But I'm not going to do that because I'm not going to prolong the archaic demoralization of women as the weaker gender. We all know it's wrong. We all know it's unfair. And we all know the time has come to stop using the phrase. Who's in?

And so ends another soapbox rant that my brother feels is one of the main reasons to my current status as a single 29-year old female. Perhaps I have the inability to let my guard down and allow men to do things for me. But with all due respect, you may have opened that jar of jelly after I struggled for a good 10 minutes but I definitely loosened it beforehand. I may have to get another cat... and a housecoat. 

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