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How can I say this?

17 September, 2009

How can I say this?

Hello, readers. I’m looking for a gender-neutral way of getting across the sentiments incorporated in the phrase, “to man up.” You see, I really like those sentiments, but I don’t like the phrase, because it’s anything but gender-neutral. Actually, I don’t really like the sentiment that is embodied in the “this is a manly quality, even when applied to women,” part of it. Um … does that make sense?


14 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 September, 2009 8:15 pm

    To take responsibility.

  2. 17 September, 2009 8:40 pm

    Thanks, Ron –Is that the same as 'manning up'? or is it the same as 'stepping up'? because I see the two as being slightly different.Or maybe I'm putting in nuances that aren't necessarily there?

  3. 17 September, 2009 8:46 pm

    A few suggestions:Grow upGird yourself!Suck it upGrandizer GoShazamGet MedievalCarpe diemOr you could just refer people to this video:

  4. 17 September, 2009 9:05 pm

    Jon, I think that's sort of gendered! I was thinking about some of those, and the one that works best is "suck it up", I think… but there's a bit missing. It needs to have that additional, "get off your ass and do something about it" quality.

  5. 17 September, 2009 9:10 pm

    Yes, most definitely gendered. I think if it's part of the point in many cases.Maybe you'll need to coin your own expression. One quote I've always admired that I think says what you want is from Frederick Douglass: "I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."Good luck!

  6. 17 September, 2009 9:29 pm

    I think you can deploy a well-chosen profession, on the analogy of "cowboy up"/"cowgirl up," which seem to be used synonymously with "man up."Astronaut up? Soldier up? Action-hero up?(I'd probably cop out — not cop up — and use "toughen up" unless I was feeling inspired.)

  7. 17 September, 2009 10:45 pm

    there was a discussion about this at bitch phd a while ago. they decided on skirt up. there was lots of discussion about the pros and cons. you might be able to find the discussion still. i think they were looking for something that was still gendered.

  8. 18 September, 2009 1:27 am

    "bear down""grind it out""push through""suit up"

  9. 18 September, 2009 2:36 pm

    What's wrong with phrases being gendered? Is the person to whom you're applying it somehow mysteriously ungendered?How about using one that's gendered feminine for women and gendered masculine for men? For women, I like "bear down" — it evokes images of childbirth.

  10. 18 September, 2009 8:49 pm

    Scott — I think there's a difference in meaning between bearing down and manning up!But because I want to find something that has the sentiments without implying that one has to be a man — or even more that one has to behave like a man — when doing this thing. Because it shouldn't be something defined by, or as a definition of, masculinity, I don't think. Except in a cultural history/anthropological sense.

  11. 19 September, 2009 1:42 pm

    Say it in Latin, then they won't know it's gendered.Esto vir!

  12. 20 September, 2009 4:18 pm

    I tend to use a combined phrase: "suck it up and deal [with it]," which conveys both the emotional girding and the doing of something. But now I'm wondering what the "it" is that one sucks up. Or is it an impersonal construction?

  13. 22 September, 2009 5:59 pm

    Oh my – or say "Esto VIRAGO!"How did I not think of that, given our esteemed blog-acquaintance's name!

  14. 24 September, 2009 2:29 pm

    I routinely say "woman up". Also I use some version of "buck up" or "buck up your ideas" or something like that.

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