Strength is Not Gender

Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion article. The opinions presented are the writer’s own and are not representative of the Trailblazer newspaper staff or Pascack Hills High School.

Women always hear phrases that tell them to be “more of a man,” but is that what they need?  Photo by Samantha Zuckerberg.

Women always hear phrases that tell them to be “more of a man,” but is that what they need? Photo by Samantha Zuckerberg.

Every woman has heard the phrase, “Be a man.” Every woman has heard the phrase, “You run like a girl.” Every woman has heard the phrase, “Man up.” Every woman has heard the phrase, “Boys don’t like that.”

We have heard men, women, girls, boys, and parents say these phrases, but what are they saying? Are they telling us that we are weak, that we are less than? Are they telling us that men are stronger and faster than us?

Some say that it’s “the sensitivity of this generation,” but it has been a growing issue for years. It is not a generational issue; women today are just finally given a voice to speak out about these issues.

During athletic activities we are told to “man up” when falling and move on. So many other things could be said to get a player back on the court, so why make it gender specific when women can contribute as much to the game as men? We don’t need to always look to what a man would do, because after all, we aren’t all men.

The issue of hearing words that tear us down is one that comes with growing up in any time period, following each generation. A 1991 study by the American Association of University women said that girls “lose their self-esteem on the way to adolescence.”

Various studies have shown that girls lose their high levels of self confidence when they begin dating. Their voice has been shown to lessen, their personalities shift, and their interests change to suit the person they are affectionate towards. The funny part about this, is that in two of the studies I read, some women said that other female figures were the ones instilling in them the need to change.

All these studies are not exact for all women, but a lot of teenage girls have heard these phrases. For some, it pushes them further to break the stigmas and for others it gives a sense of courage to rebel against the normal lifestyle. Most of us were affected by these words, if they changed our personality or not, and they should continue to inspire young girls to break the stereotype.

We need to end the shift in personality for love interests, end the use of phrases to cut us apart, and end the self-criticism from women to women.

As years come and go, we need to limit the use of these phrases. We need to teach the upcoming generations that these are inaccurate terms that shouldn’t be used in a world that strives for equality. Our current generation is the generation to make a change, so why don’t we better the self confidence of all children to come by becoming more accepting.