words and tone matter

When It Comes to Stereotypes, Words Matter. A Lot.

A few days ago, I heard a young father telling his son—who was probably around 10 or 11—to “man up.” I started thinking about that phrase and wondered about all the gender stereotyping we do without even realizing it. Are expressions like “man up” harmless parts of or language or do they make a difference?

There’s no question that we use a lot of sex stereotypes in our everyday speech, most of the time without realizing it. Sometimes even the most gender-neutral phrases carry a strong stereotyped message. In most cases, the words are harmless, but other times they’re dangerous.

Take, for example, the word “behave” as it’s often used in schools. For decades, we’ve been telling boys in classrooms that they should “behave” properly: sit still and be quiet—behavior that’s strongly associated with girls. Unfortunately, that’s not the way boys learn best. Boys get the message that girls’ behavior is “right,” and that that there’s something wrong with boys’ behavior. Parents are told that their sons have ADHD, and they rush out to find a doctor who will confirm that “diagnosis.” As a result, way too many boys are unnecessarily drugged.

Read the rest of this article here.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

1 Comment

  1. KJKDecember 19, 2023

    Speaking of “man up”, here is a great article that addresses another factor contributing to men’s reluctance to seek appropriate and/or timely healthcare:



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