Don’t be such a girl!

It’s completely degrading when people use “female” as a pejorative to mean weak. Often in popular culture, one of the biggest insults to a man is to label him as a woman. Like saying…”You ____ like a girl”, “All right ladies” (army & sport films),”You’re a pussy” etc there are many, many, many examples. When people say these things, if they believe in gender equality, doesn’t this seem hypocritical? Unless people believe women are some how flawed why would this be an insult?

I have used all these terms in the past – and to be honest part of me thought being female or womanish was lame. I have since come to my senses. There are lots of people who use these phrases with out thinking about their meaning… I have heard a ton of self-proclaimed liberals and progressives use female as an insult. Saying these terms doesn’t mean they don’t believe in equality. However it does mean that they use speech that promotes inequality. Doesn’t saying these things promote the idea that women are less-than? If we believe in saying what we mean – doesn’t insulting someone by calling them female mean we think being female is flawed? The opposite is true for strength in our vernacular. Maleness is considered desirable – “man-up”, “they’ve got balls”, etc. I am proposing that people try to think about their words in this instance and trying to mean what you say.

I’m sharing this idea of – meaning what you say – because it’s a easy way to come close to your ideals for living life. There’s no campaign, there’s no money, we don’t need to gather masses of like-minded people. We can just think about our words, compare them to our hearts and see if they stand true to what we believe.

Obama gave a beautiful and moving in inaugural speech that focused largely around the theme of equality. He said “You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift…” I believe in that. I thought about his daughters Malia and Sasha, probably the two most prominent, non-sexualized girls in our country. I wondered how they must have inspired Obama’s thoughts on equality. Being inspired myself, I am adding my voice and thoughts to the debate. Women or men can be strong, women or men can be weak or flawed. We are all humans. We can’t stand for someone insulting us or others just because of a harmful history or outdated gender roles. I say this all with love because I think so many of us (myself included) just don’t think about the words we say.

– Lyla