“Man up” may seem like a harmless way to tell a man to step up to his responsibilities, to be strong, or to show less emotion, but the phrase itself implies that doing any of these things is gender specific. More, it implies that one can be more or less of a man based on behavior. It’s a phrase that has long outlived its usefulness, assuming it was ever useful at all. I am committed to never uttering those two words to my son or using them in reference to anyone else. The words we need to be using instead of “man up” should be “grow up.”
“These women go to work every day and are told they are not as good, they are taking some man’s job, and ‘Why are they there?’ Subtle and straight to their faces, every day for their entire careers,” founder Alice Lockridge says. With Women4Women, she says, “we made a place where they could come to work and share their skills and learn new skills in an environment that was free from all that.”
Indigenous women have been the backbone of this particular resistance movement, but also in general, of tiospaye, family units, in Lakota nations. And Indigenous women—as well as [being] traditionally the backbone of their families, they often are the ones to call out injustice when they see it immediately. We saw that at Standing Rock. LaDonna has a story in which she describes how there were bulldozers going over the sacred burial sites, and the men were just so in shock that they didn't know what to do. And LaDonna said, “Well push [the men] out of the way and tell the women to stop it.” And that's what happened. Women got arrested: doctors, mothers, sisters. They are a force to reckon with. And I think that that's why we were meant to carry this particular message to Europe.