10 Responses to the Phrase ‘Man Up’


A spoken word poem by 2-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and social justice educator Guante.

“New piece. I really hate those Miller Lite commercials, but it’s definitely bigger than just that. Felt good to talk about it on stage.  This is one of the first performances of this piece, and it’ll probably be polished some and hopefully filmed more professionally at some point.  But I wanted to post it now.

On a side note, I know there are a ton of spoken-word pieces out there about masculinity.  I’ve got this one too.  But I think it’s important to keep talking about these issues, especially if you can do it in a creative way, or at least have a new angle or hook.  I think there’s a bad tendency in spoken-word circles to dismiss any poem that covers well-trod territory (like “here’s another hip hop poem,” or “here’s another domestic violence poem”) and while I completely understand where that’s coming from and agree that we should be pushing ourselves in terms of subject matter, I ALSO believe that certain topics deserve the attention.  Especially as someone who works with young people–particularly young men– I like to have three or four of these kinds of poems in my pocket.

Anyways, hope you like it.  Might be a bit of a “preaching to the choir” piece in some ways, but that all depends on with whom we all share it.  Any FB posts, tweets, tumblr posts, re-blogs and whatever are much appreciated, as always.”

microphone- pictureorpictures-flickr

Photo:  pictureorpictures/Flickr

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  1. I loved everything about this.

    I wanted to comment on this site, though: I got an ad on this page that was…well, let’s say ironic. Very sexist, and dealing with this image of “being a man” in particular. It was from Repair.com, and you might consider not having them advertise on your page anymore.

    Here’s an article about how they arrived at the concept and a video of the ad:

  2. Not being from the states I was unaware that Miller Lite were using “Man Up” as a slogan, but since the phrase “Man Up” seems to translate as “Yeah, so it’s shit, just put up with it” maybe it’s an appropriate slogan.

    “Hey, this beer is too gassy and doesn’t really taste of anything”
    “Oh, man up!”
    “All right! All right! Just saying! I’ll have the same again then.”

  3. I love this! All are good points. Stereotypes hurt EVERYONE, and like prejudice – they take away opportunities. Assumptions and stereotypes about gender roles hurt BOTH women and men. Telling a woman “you can’t be a doctor” is just as bad as telling a man “you can’t be a nurse”, and people can’t be truly free until all can be free to be themselves whoever that may be.

  4. Beautifully written and spoken.

  5. drdanfee says:

    Big Thanks to you for this one. No need, never no need to apologize for your work, gives a lot to all of us is my best guess. Props. Oh yes.

  6. Holy shite. Now I can’t write that piece, because he already did it. Just what I needed to hear this morning. Powerful, brilliant, touching. I dig it, immensely.

  7. Valter Viglietti says:

    Good piece, Guante, thank you.
    “Man up” goes hand in hand with “Be a real man”; I dislike both equally.

    When someone ask me if I’m a “real man”, I quietly reply:
    “No. I’m not a ‘real man’, because I’m also a woman, a child, an alien, an animal, and probably something else as well”. 8)

    Do not stick your labels on me: they will fall off. :mrgreen:

  8. Good stuff.

    Although I admit that when a woman (I’m glad there were women cheering for that guy in the clip but that doesn’t with the fact that A LOT of women out there have no problem playing the “Man Up” card when it suits them) tries to pull that man up crap on me I do indeed pull a “woman up” on her in response.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      @Danny: “I do indeed pull a “woman up” on her in response.”

      Good one! 😆
      I’ll remember that on my next “Man up!” time. 😉

  9. Ah yes “Man Up” the eponymous term that teaches young men that feelings are to be avoided, and thus become invalidated. The term that continues to separate men from women in so many ways.

  10. I loved the whole piece…but I have to say the ending is what I loved the most. Just that definitive, ‘No’ at the end. Excellent.

  11. Man Up….yeah. Hell of a phrase. Kind of amazing when i think how many times that saying tapped my button to fall in line despite feelings to the contrary. Appreciate the piece.

  12. Tom Matlack says:

    Guante it’s a pleasure and an honor. GREAT WORK.

  13. Hey– big thanks for posting! Just wanted to leave a note to say that I posted the words at the original link, in case anyone needs/wants them: http://www.guante.info/2012/02/10-responses-to-phrase-man-up-spoken.html


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