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Why telling people to “man up” is not as misogynistic as society deems

Brendan Wong, 2SB1

In a recent Vogue article, the author Michelle Ruiz writes in response to Piers Morgan’s tweet in which he proclaims that he valiantly hosted his morning talk show, Good Morning Britain, with three broken ribs, after which, proceeding to call out all the supposed “snowflakes” out there, informing them that what he did was a great example of “manning up”.

Ruiz herself thinks it is time to abolish the use of the phrase “man up”, which is often used as a snide remark challenging the person in question to act bolder or endure more pain. She argues that women in today’s society go through equally as many ordeals as your average man, and on top of that deal with more pains (on a daily basis), societal pressures etc than most men would ever have to experience in their lives.

All in all, Piers Morgan’s tweet was published in distaste and women out there have every right to react the way they did. But are they taking the age-old phrase a bit too literally?

Historically, man has always taken on the role of the warrior, soldier, fighter, leader. Gladiators – characters universally recognized as symbols of great strength and courage – were all male. US presidents, as of now, have all been male. So, looking back, history’s greatest luminaries of leadership, courage, and strength were all – you guessed it – male. This has snowballed into the present day situation where children are brought up with certain ideas of what the male of the house should or shouldn’t do, and what it means to be “a man”. Over time, as the stereotype settled in, men become known for these identifying characteristics.

Coincidentally, language, like stereotypes, is also another human construct that has evolved over time. As history was sculpting the idea of what it meant to be a man, language was watching and taking notes, leaving us with phrases that made a lot of sense in the past, but in present-day society seem to harshly stereotype; Phrases like “man up”.

So, is Piers Morgan an outright misogynist, or did he simply use words whose literal meaning were lost on him?

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Slight digression:

This is one of my favourite slam poems of all time (yes, I know what you’re thinking – slam poetry: some guy shouting into a microphone about his broken childhood or something along those lines, awkward guy in a beanie randomly stressing words seemingly as he sees fit; his hands clenched into fists as he stares solemnly into the distance. Applause.) because it was one of the first I discovered and is now being featured here due to it being so very aptly titled – no points for guessing – Ten responses to the phrase “man up”.




One comment on “Why telling people to “man up” is not as misogynistic as society deems

  1. Cs says:

    Well written, soundly based

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