Guante – “Ten Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up'”

TEN RESPONSES TO THE PHRASE “MAN UP” 1. Fuck you. 2. If you want to question my masculinity,
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 your way out of chemical depression. The CEO
of the company that just laid you off does not care how much you bench. And I promise,
there is no lite beer in the universe full-bodied enough to make you love yourself. 3. “Man up?” 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 who defends the world from, I don’t know, feelings. 4. Of course. 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. 5. You ever notice how nobody ever says “woman
up?” They 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? 6. The phrase “Man Up” suggests that competence
and perseverance 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. 7. 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. 8. Boy babies get blue socks. Girl babies
get pink socks. What about purple? What about green? What about orange, yellow, chartreuse,
cerulean, black, tie-dyed, buffalo plaid, rainbow… 9. 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. 10. No.

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