Guante - Ten Responses to the Phrase “Man Up”
Ten responses to the phrase “Man Up”
If you want to question my masculanity like a schoolyard circle of curses. Like a swordfight with lightsaber erections, save your breath. Because contrary to what you may believe, not every problem can be solved by “growing a pair” You cannot arm-wrestle out of chemical depression. The CEO of the company that just laid you off does care how much you belch. And I promise, there is no lite beer in the universe full-bodied enouch to make you love yourself.
Oh that’s that new superhero, right?
Mild-mannered supplement salesman Mark Manstrong says the magic words “Man up” and then transforms into THE FIVE O’CLOCK SHADOW, the massively-muscled, deep-voiced, leather-duster-wearing super-man whe defends the world from, I don’t know, feelings.
Why fight to remove our chains, when we can simply compare their lengths? Why step outside the box when the box has these badass flame decals on it? We men are cigarettes: dangerous, and… poisonous, and stupid.
You never notice how nobody ever says “woman up?” They never just imply it. Because women, and the women’s movement, figured out a long time ago that being explicitly ordered around by commercials, magazines and music is dehumanizing. When will men figure that out?
The phrase “Man up” suggests that competence and perserverance are uniquely masculine traits. That women-not to mention any man who doesn’t eat steak, drive a big pickup truck and have lots of sex with women-are nothing more than background characters, comic relief, props. More than anything, though, it suggests that to be yourself-whether you wear skinny jeans, rock a little eyeliner, drink some other brand of light beer, or write poetry-will cost you.
How many boys have to kill themselves before this country acknowledges the problem? How many women have to be assaulted? How many trans people have to be murdered? We teach boys how to wear the skin of a man, but we also teach them how to raise that skin like a flag and draw blood for it.
Boy babies get blue socks. Girl babies get pink socks. What about purple? What about green? What about orange, yellow, cerulean, black, tie-dyed, buffalo plaid, rainbow.
I want to be free to express myself. Man up. I want to have meaningful, emotional relationships with my brothers. Man up. I want to be weak sometimes. Man up. I want to be strong in a way that isn’t about physical power or dominance. Man up. I want to talk to my son about something other than sports. Man up. I want to be who I am. Man up.