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 can’t 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, black-leather-duster-wearing superhero who defends the world from, I don’t know, feelings.

4. See I don’t drink a lot of beer… you know, because I’m not a “real man,” but I’m pretty sure that, of all the beers in the world, Miller Lite… is not the most flavorful brew. It kind of tastes like… whatever insecure jackass wrote these “man up” commercials got rejected by a beautiful, no-nonsense bartender, drank a six pack of REAL beer alone in his apartment, and then Miller bottled his tears.

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 directly ordered around by commercials, magazines and music is dehumanizing. When will men figure that out?

6. “Man Up” assaults our self esteem by suggesting that competence and perseverance are uniquely masculine traits. That women—not to mention any man who doesn’t eat steak, drive a pickup truck, have lots of sex with women and otherwise conform to gender norms absolutely—are nothing more than, background characters and props in a movie where the strong, stoic, REAL man is the hero. More than anything, though, it suggests that to be yourself—whether you, wear skinny jeans, listen to Lady Gaga, 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 abused? How many trans people have to get assaulted? 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 orange, yellow, chartreuse, cerulean, black, tie-dyed, buffalo plaid, rainbow… there are so many beautiful colors and combinations of colors. Yet boy babies get blue socks. And girl babies get pink socks.

9. I want to be free, to express myself. Man up. I want to have meaningful, emotional relationships with other men. 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 cry if I feel like crying. Man up. I want to ask for help. Man up. I want to be who I am. Man up.

10. No.



I get asked from people curious about feminism about which behaviors are considered “empowering” and which ones aren’t.

“I heard women find dressing provocatively on Halloween empowering.”

“I heard women find being submissive in bed empowering.”

“I heard women find wearing pant suits instead of skirt suits empowering.”

If only power were this arbitrary.

My first gut reaction to hearing the word “empowerment” like this is to wonder why women are seen as so helpless that they have to act out in minuscule ways to feel any source of power. Like come on, we know that women are just as apt as men at dominating in their academics, careers, talents, so on and so on. Yet it’s wearing a Wonderwoman costume with a push-up that people like to exalt as empowering. There is more to a woman than her body, her sexuality and her appearance. Why can’t we break free of this?

Additionally, statements about “empowerment” lump women into one monolithic entity. Where one woman derives a sense of empowerment, another woman might not. Empowerment is not about an arbitrary checklist of preferences; it’s about an individual’s sense of self. There has been all this debate about whether dancers/strippers are “empowered” or if they’re slaves of the patriarchy. To me, dancing as a profession is just another arbitrary preference that, in and of itself, cannot be labeled as empowering or not. It is not the job itself that is empowering or disempowering but one’s own desire or lack of desire to do it.

The bottom line is that as long as you are doing what you want, you are empowered. Not because society tells you it’s right or wrong but because you truly desire it. Empowerment does not accumulate like coins in a jar every time you perform a certain action; it is a state of being. Empowerment means neither actively abiding by nor actively breaking society’s rules. Empowerment means putting your personal preferences and dreams and ambitions above the rules. It means wrestling the power to dictate your life from society and making it your own.

Great article overall, but I really I love this last line as it can apply to everyone. Live life according to yourself; not our (flawed and arbitrary) human-made rules.