>If you’re ever looking for a pretty much sure-fire way to get a Men’s Rights Activist to blow his top — not that this is a particularly difficult feat — just tell him to “man up.” Indeed, the phrase is so infuriating to some MRAs that it causes them to spew typos like a mad man. “Few phrases in the world make an MRAs [sic] want to rip our [sic] their spines and beat people to a bloody pulp with them,” writes TheZetaMale on his Zeta blog. “‘Man Up’ has to be one of them.” Meanwhile, on the Men’s Rights subreddit on Reddit, a fellow calling himself olythoreau seconds this emotion:
I noticed that people using the phrase “man up” or “be a man” really fucking pisses me off. A trigger of sorts. Fuck everyone who has any expectation that I or any other man perform masculinity to their liking. Yes, I’m a man, but I’m a fucking individual… and I’ll perform masculinity any way I fucking please!
Thing is, I completely agree with this sentiment: telling a guy to “man up” is an obnoxious thing to do. Oh, sure, I sometimes agree with the message people are trying to send by using this phrase: stop whining about trivial shit and get on with your life.
Indeed, no group of people I’ve ever run across is so expert in turning molehills into Mt. Everest than the MRA crowd; they put the whiniest of “victim feminists” to shame. Do you really need to boycott half the companies in the Fortune 500* because they ran “misandrist” ads featuring doofus husbands failing in their doofusy attempts to cook dinner? Does the fact that some random hot chick finds you repellent really mean that evil women rule the world? Does the fact that some anti-MRA blogger calls a dumb old sexist cartoon a dumb old sexist cartoon really mean that “feminists and manginas .. would love to enforce a world where the very thought that men experience problems with women in relationships is taboo[?]”
So I can certainly understand the exasperation so many people feel towards the MRM, as the very existence of this blog attests. But the phrase “man up” is absolutely the wrong way to make these points, for precisely the reasons olythoreau outlines. And I’d add: the phrase is sexist as hell, suggesting implicitly that non-men and non-manly men are a bunch of, well, pussies. (It’s telling that the most common alternate way to tell someone to “man up” is to tell him to “stop being a pussy.”)
I’m hardly the only feminist-ish person to dislike the phrase “man up”: Jezebel ran a story called “Stop Telling Men to ‘Man Up'” the other day, noting the sudden ubiquity of the phrase in the political world, and making the point that the phrase implies “that the worst thing to be is not-a-man — weak, lacking in courage.” (Of course, there are some MRAs who have no problem with the phrase “man up” for exactly this reason.)
But there is an irony to MRAs’ distaste with the phrase. No, scratch that, a HUMONGOUS GIGANTIC FUCKING IRONY. While they complain about the phrase “man up” being applied to them, they are the first to question the masculinity of anyone who disagrees with them or who displays their masculinity in any other way than they do — hence their almost ritualistic use of the gender-bending term “mangina” (NSFW link) to indicate anyone not-them. (For ample proof of this, just scroll down to the comments on virtually any post on this blog.) As cat points out in a comment on this very subject on this very blog:
The thing about MRA patriarchy foot soldiers is that they can’t seem to get the old slogan of “the patriarchy hurts men too”. First, they complain about not being able to express emotions and variety, then they turn around the first chance they get to bash the guys that do. You know, if you stopped doing all this gay-bashing gender shaming, you would be able to express your emotions verbally, dress in different colors, admit you enjoy musicals and baking, etc. You’re slitting your own damned throats and blaming it on everyone but yourselves.
I’d only add one little caveat to this: the people attacking “manginas” aren’t always the exact same people in the MRM who are complaining about being told to “man up.” Indeed, TheZetaMale — the first guy I quoted above — actually took his fellow MRAs to task in an earlier post for using “shaming language like ‘Faggot’ and ‘Emasculated Mangina.'” Unfortunately, his attitude is rarer than rare in the MRM.
So here’s a challenge for any MRM who hates being told to “man up”: take a stand against the term “mangina” and all the other obnoxious gender-questioning slurs that litter every message board or comment section populated by MRAs. Post a denunciation of this shit right here, in the comments to this post. Just human up, and do it.
NOTE TO EXTREMELY LITERAL READERS: *I realize that they’re not literally advocating boycotting half the companies in the Fortune 500. Sometimes I keed.
EDIT: Amanda Marcotte posted an excellent piece on how “man up” fucks stuff up for everybody. Check it out.