Prepared by: Pulkit Mahajan, Beat Sexism India
“Man up” may seem like a harmless way to tell a man to step up to his responsibilities, to be strong, or to show fewer emotions, but the phrase itself implies that doing any of these things is gender-specific.
Being a man myself, I’ve been told all of the stuff mentioned above. My mom said that I shouldn’t cry because “It’s not man-like”. Unfortunately, like my mom, most parents fail to understand the consequences of teaching children things like that.
Because I was told to be a man since I can remember, I realized that I kept telling myself to refrain from displaying emotions for most of my life. I kept myself from crying or even acting hurt when something wrong would happen. Keeping all of those things inside takes a real toll on you, your mental and physical health.
I stopped using the phrase “Man up” as soon as I understood how harmful and toxic it is; I realized that I was perpetuating misogyny with those two simple words.
How often do we tell young and adult men to “man up” and that they shouldn’t be bothered by this or that? This has been our culture. It often starts in early childhood. We tell boys, “boys don’t cry.” We condition boys from a very young age to not express emotions because to express feelings is to be weak. Crying is a challenge to masculinity. They are often called out for behavior that doesn’t match society’s definition of manhood.
I believe it’s about time we put an end to the society’s definition of a man and be who we want to be because there’s no particular way for someone to be a man.
Crying doesn’t make you any less of a man; reading poetry doesn’t make you any less of a man; wearing dresses doesn’t make you any less of a man.
“Equality can’t be achieved as long as we’re still using outdated language that implies strength or weakness based solely on one’s gender or anatomy. We don’t need men to “man up” or “grow up” as much as we need people willing to communicate and to create healthy boundaries.”
Men can cry and show their emotions. Stop telling them to “Man up.” Showing emotions takes a lot of strength, and the idea of emotions being assigned to gender is rather stupid to me because, before a man or a woman, we are humans first, and the only thing that makes “Humans” human is that they feel.