…may break my bones but words will never hurt me. It just not true though is it? The words we use, and the way we use them can be directly hurtful, or can perpetuate stereotypes and understandings that need to be challenged.
A set of phrases I have occasionally challenged are those that suggest that bravery is a male attribute. This is perpetuated in phrases such as “He screamed like a little girl” which suggests that such a person’s courage has failed them because everyone knows that women aren’t brave! Tell that to….Oh any of the brave women in history!
The other phrases that are used are variants of “Grow some” (meaning grow some testicles, i.e. become a mature man), or more obviously “Man up, mate.” Arguably, from one man to another these last two could be commenting on age and maturity rather than gender, in which case the use of them could be justified. My worry is that I’ve heard them used among young women as well and I’ve pondered what equivalent women could use when encourage one another without diminishing them as women.
So Ladies/Women/Wimmin (use as preferred), if we are going use colloqialisms, I offer you:
“Come on! Grow some boobs” and “Woman up!”
|M&S Finest :-)|
I also like, but can’t claim credit for: “Put on your big girl pants!” I said the first two to a young woman colleague and they made her laugh…and then say “Yes, I need to”
In my head they create an image of women rolling up their sleeves, standing up for themselves, getting dressed to take on the big wide world on their terms, and that’s an image I like. So please don't be offended if I urge you to grow some boobs and put on your big girl pants - I'm encouraging you to step up to all you are as a woman, with pride, courage and dignity, in underwear that says practical, sexy, pretty and comfortable.