Strength, courage, and life success really aren’t about body parts or hormones, so let’s stop using slang terms for them to shame anyone of any gender.
It seems testicles are the key to courage, strength, success, safety, and happiness. And vagina hating is the language used to impart this message.
Take Mayor Cameron Hamilton of Porterville, California. The Mayor shared this advice while discussing a proposal to create an anti-bullying safe zone for students:
“I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything and the ills of the world, (Most) people just have to grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves.”
Well, that was helpful. All we need to do is grow a pair and those bullies will leave us alone. Does this mean the girls are SOL?
How about the delightful Larry Winget? He feels that we’re a society of “weenies,” (that’s small penis in case you needed the translation,) and that we all need to “Grow A Pair.” Yes, that’s the name of his book. His website says “We’ve all heard the phrase “grow a pair,” but the way that Larry Winget is using it has nothing to do with masculine versus feminine. This time “growing a pair” is a state of mind, an attitude, and a way of thinking.”
You bet it’s a way of thinking. It’s a way of thinking that having a scrotum is what makes one able to stand up for oneself. That testosterone is more valuable than progesterone. That masculine is more powerful than feminine. Seriously, how in the heck can ‘growing a pair’ not be masculine versus feminine? It’s a statement of superiority to own a pair and thereby a statement of inferiority if you can’t. Maybe that’s why he says I can buy it. It’s hard for me to grow a pair when my vagina is in the way.
This phrase is on Keep Calm posters, T-shirts, facebook memes, brass balls sold in a box, pins, the list is endless. It makes me weary.
How can we raise our children to value people equally when the common vernacular states otherwise?
A Facebook Someecard says,
“Your MANgina is showing and it’s embarrassing! So please grow a pair and stop acting like such a girl!”
It’s a picture of a girl waving her finger at a boy. I think this is supposed to be funny. Let’s break this down:
- The girl called the boy a male version of a vagina as an insult.
- She told him to grow testicles as a remedy for this ailment.
- She told him to “stop acting like a girl” as further insult.
- It’s a girl putting herself down. That’s sick.
How about the t-shirt that says, “IT’S BUSINESS. GROW A PAIR.” It’s sold in women’s and men’s cuts. Hmmm, a women’s shirt that says business success is dependent on testosterone. That’s confusing! Is she going to wear it and communicate that she can’t possibly succeed? Sigh.
And the fabled Urban dictionary is even more clear. This is verbatim, down to the capitalization:
Grow a Pair: Telling someone they don’t have the balls that they SHOULD have to do something “manly”
Usually a conversation between 2 or more guys.
Jake: I really like Mikayla, but I don’t think she would go out with me…
John: Stop being a pussy, grow a pair and ask her out!
Why is a pussy being used to exemplify bad? What is bad about the genitalia that gives birth and enjoys sensual pleasure? I don’t get it.
Somebody wanted to fight back, so they created tshirts, buttons, and stickers with the image of ovaries with the line “Grow a pair.” I find this funny and sad. I don’t want to get into a battle of balls.
I want children to know that we don’t need testicles or ovaries to be strong, self-loving, and successful beings on this planet.
This requires using words that don’t delineate between male and female genitalia. Feisty, fierce, and formidable. Sexy, smart and, strategic. Strong, successful and serious. What words would you use to describe yourself? Are you able to avoid gender stereotypes? It’s hard because we’re taught from early on and it becomes natural. “Ballsy” or “man up” are so common we don’t even realize we’re using them. Pay attention to what words you choose. You may be guilty of this. We all are.
Rudyard Kipling said, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” It is the awareness of our word choices and the power behind each word that will shift our culture from vagina hating to people loving. Amen.