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A Writer's Den: Does The Next Step In Women’s Rights Require Women To “Man Up?”

Friday, October 29, 2010

Does The Next Step In Women’s Rights Require Women To “Man Up?”

There’s nothing worse than politicians taking the hottest slang turning it into wannabe snarky phrases my own mother wouldn’t use. This year’s phrase is “Man Up.” I want even touch on the political affiliation of the candidates using these terms, as it is beyond the scope of this article. But I want to touch on the fact that female candidates are telling their male opponents to “man up.” So why is that a problem?

Before I answer that, let’s discuss what “man up” means. According to Urban Dictionary, man up means to work through impediments and obstacles without whining, to grow some balls, and stop being an utter wuss, to name a few. I’m a married woman and a mother of 2 young girls and I have serious problems with females thinking it’s cool to tell men to man up, specifically in regard to gender roles.

First, man up assumes that men have certain characteristics requiring they make tough decisions that women can’t handle. The last time I checked, women make tough decisions everyday. And being born without balls or shedding a tear every now and then hasn’t stopped women from making tough decisions. 

Second, it’s belittling. Men come in all shapes and sizes just like women do. To assume every man who doesn’t allow his masculinity to limit him from showing compassion or sympathy is less of man is ridiculous. This train of thought is what has ultimately led to men and women being pigeon holed into certain roles.

Third, what do our children think when they hear terms like “man up?” I’m not a mother of boys, but I am a mother of a daughter. I can’t imagine her telling another little boy that he’s a wuss, a whiner, a pussy. Bottom line, I don’t want her telling men how they should act because I don’t want a man telling her how she should act. 

Women have come a long way from not being allowed to own property nor the right to vote. Women are now the majority in colleges and universities. But does the next step in women’s rights require we “man up?”

Sources:
“Man Up”, Urban Dictionary.com, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=man%20up (accessed October 29, 2010)

Credit: btrenkel © istockphoto.com/btrenkel

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