Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Man Up" - Sexist Usage

I really do not care for the phrase "man up". As in "don't take that from a girl--man up and show her you're the boss!"Although it is no doubt used sometimes to exhort to noble actions--"man up and pay your child support"--it has, to me, an unmistakeable air of schoolyard masculinity and machismo. I find it to be rather sexist, especially when used by women.

In researching this blog post, I came across this NYT article, which I think covers the term quite nicely (though in the non-judgmental approach common to both journalism and descriptive dictionaries). I do think the military usage, with a different meaning, is likely the origin of the term.

Final note...like many edgy terms, it may be acceptable in certain situations, especially when used between in-group members...I think the perfect situation would be for one buddy to exhort another to "Man up and get a vasectomy!".


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