Once again, Athol at MMSL has made an intriguing post that inspired a response that grew to post-length itself. So once again I'm using it for my own blog, because it's so damn pertinent.
The focus of the post was the insidious admonition to "Man Up" that we've been hearing steadily for two decades, and how it's often used as a shaming technique to get men to do stuff that is not necessarily in their best interests.
This is a bigger deal than most men realize.
One of the hardest things about taking the Red Pill is accepting responsibility for your own actions as a man and the head of your household (even if you are the only member of that household). It’s easy to be a Blue Pill dude and defer responsibility to other people — your wife, the government, someone else — but when you take the Red Pill and make that commitment to yourself that you will deal with the universe the way it is, and not the way it’s idealized to be, then things get complicated. And hard.
Athol’s absolutely right: when someone is telling you to “Man Up”, they’re invoking shame and using your own masculinity against you.
Now, if that comes from a man then it can be seen
as an invitation to remember your masculine power, qwitchyerbitchen, and do the job at hand. When men tell other men to “Man Up” (usually) they are trying to improve the condition of the other man. In the Male Social Matrix men are generally encouraged to help each other like that as part of the process of turning a Guy in to a Man . . . or simply providing moral support for a difficult issue. While the emphasis in the MSM is overtly on competition between men, a long list of masculine codes, from basic sportsmanship to battlefield chivalry, are designed to mitigate that competitive nature by tacitly providing assistance to less-able men.
While men are highly competitive, they also (as a class) tend to be dedicated to using their success and position to elevate other men even if it means that they are sacrificing a little competitive edge to do it. Because while winning is vitally important to men, winning unfairly cheapens the effort. And if your competitors are not at their best, then your best doesn't mean much. An Olympic sprinter at a Middle School track meet isn't going to find much meaningful competition. Any "wins" he makes there are going to be suspect -- not because he cheated, but because of the mediocre nature of competition.
Since men thrive on competition as the cornerstone of the Male Social Matrix, then the only way that the most successful competitors are going to experience real satisfaction with their success is to ensure that the competition is as challenging as possible. When an Olympian goes to the games, the focus is not on "I'm going to win a Gold!" it's "I'm going to face the best athletes on the planet and I'm going to be shown -- in front of the entire world -- how I stack up." So the impetus in the MSM is to improve your competition as much as you can without making them better than you. It's the old "I taught him everything he knows . . . but I didn't teach him everything I know!" saw from the older, more experienced man referring to a competitive protege.
When a man tells another man to “Man Up” he’s offering both support and criticism, acknowledging the difficulties of the issue but also declaring his belief that the other man has within him the capability and testicular fortitude to get the job done despite his own fears and insecurities about the issue. Since all men have fears and insecurities, a quiet, private discussion about them with another dude who acknowledges those fears and insecurities but also expresses his belief in your ability to deal with them is a gift from another man.
And that's how most men take that kind of admonishment . . . from other men. As constructive criticism and just enough shame implicit to be motivating. The few times when another man has told me to "Man Up", "Sack Up", or "Cowboy Up", it has been a straight-up reminder that I'm a dude, I've got big hairy balls, and the way to properly approach a problem or challenge is not from a place of fear and insecurity, but from a place of confident determination, and I've been (in retrospect) grateful to the men who said it to me.
But when it comes from a woman, it’s the nastiest sort of insult. On par with the “C-word”.
When a woman says “Man Up”, she’s not offering constructive criticism wrapped in a masculine-flavored coating of support. She’s calling into question his masculinity and his ability to get the job done, and expressing her doubts about her dude in the most insidious of ways.
Don't believe that ladies? Think that telling your man to "Man Up" is no big deal? Let me explain it to you like this: it’s the moral equivalent of presenting yourself to your husband before an important formal occasion after three hours prep on hair, make-up and wardrobe only to have him wrinkle up his forehead and say “You mean you’re going to wear that? In public?” Devastating.
In that situation, the asshole-in-question is undermining not just your confidence, but your ability to properly interpret and react to a complex social situation, which is the cornerstone of the Female Social Matrix. In a very real way he's attacking your femininity, not through an overt assault on your sexuality or appearance or the other stuff that feminists get torqued up about, but by questioning your ability to navigate the FSM.
So when you ladies tell your man to "Man Up" in just about any situation, you are taking a well-aimed kick at his unprotected testicles. And since it's coming from you, who knows him better than just about anyone, it's orders of magnitude worse than had it come from a stranger.
The Red Pill doesn’t banish fears and insecurities — if anything, once you know all of the things that can go wrong with your life, your wife, and your relationships, it can make you a little paranoid. But what the Red Pill can do for you is give you the space to acknowledge your own fears and insecurities and handle them. The Red Pill doesn’t say you have to be an indestructible, invulnerable, and emotionally-distant man in order to thrive. But it does give you just enough security and belief in yourself to push back when you get the shit-testing “Man UP!” from a woman.
So how does a Red Pill man, especially one working the MAP hardcore, respond to such a shrewish and inconsiderate request?
First, consider the context of the situation. Carefully evaluate the objective challenges you face. If it's a work issue, for example, and you understand how precarious your company is positioned in these uncertain economic times, then responding to your wife's request that you "Man Up" and demand a raise from your boss when the company is contemplating lay-offs demonstrates her lack of knowledge of the situation and suggests an appropriate, quietly-delivered response:
"Have you noticed it's not your name on my paycheck? This job is my responsibility to navigate, and if I don't think this is an opportune time to push back, then you're just going to have to fucking trust me that I know what the hell it is I'm doing. Because as delicate as things are, having someone who doesn't know what the hell she's talking about offering me bad advice about how to run my career isn't going to be doing me any favors."
And yes, use profanity. Don't use insulting language or name-calling . . . but there is a time and place to display your command of invective to your woman, and this qualifies.
Or, if it's a tangled social situation -- for instance, stumbling across evidence that a male friend of yours is cheating on his spouse -- then an admonishment to "Man Up" from your woman is actually a nasty way for her to try to shame and manipulate you into feminine-behavior under the auspices that it's the "right" thing to do. That is, when your wife wants you to "Man Up" and rat on your friend to his wife, what she's really trying to do is drag you into the uncleansed bowels of the Female Social Matrix and use you as her surrogate bitch.
Women often feel that they are the keepers of moral and ethical behavior in our society, which is Hamstereese for selectively using morality to increase their position in the FSM (or, conversely, to tear down another woman's). Part of this can be blamed on the relative powerlessness women enjoyed in the pre-industrial era, when their only legitimate way of using power was through their men. But now they can't use that excuse -- trying to drag a man into the FSM for your own purposes by shaming his sense of masculinity is nothing more than blatant manipulation.
So how do you respond to her "Man Up!" in this case?
"You know, it's been said that learning to mind your own business is 80% of all human wisdom. This is a volatile situation that has the possibility of messing up a lot of people's lives, and since it concerns something that's clearly none of our fucking business, then I'm going to 'Man Up' and exercise my masculine prerogative for wisdom by keeping my mouth shut and strongly encouraging my gossipy wife to do the same. The fact is, we don't know all the facts. We don't know what kind of private intimate relationship those two have, no matter how close we might be to them. And stirring a turd of this size is just going to cover everyone in shit so . . . if you think me unmanly because I'm unwilling to destroy someone else marriage willy-nilly, then buy me a tutu and call me Fifi, Babe, because clearly I'm not man enough to do it."
Presented in a growling, obviously-judgmental tone of voice, this should shut down all future discussion on the topic, unless she's Batshit Crazy or, conversely, so tied into the FSM that your wishes on the matter do not matter to her. Which implies you have much, much bigger problems on your hand that idle gossip.
Of course, the hardest time to hear "Man Up" from your woman is when it involves your own family. Especially your relationship with your mother. A wife/girlfriend and her mother-in-law is always a rough relationship, no matter how cordial it might seem. In a very real way your woman and your mom are fighting for control over you, and both of them can use the "Man Up" as a shaming technique in their FSM power struggle. This is particularly hard to take, and it can put you in a particularly bad spot.
When your wife tells you to "Man Up" when it comes to your mother or father, then once again objectively evaluate the context of the situation. Usually that kind of fight comes when your parents are trying to get you to do something that your woman sees as a threat to your relationship or her power. And while the last thing you want is your mother dominating your relationship, it's just as bad to have your wife dominate your relationship with your mother. Hearing your mother tell you to "Man Up" in regards to your wife is just as bad, and calls for the same level of response.
In a Blue Pill marriage what usually happens is that the Beta in question gets in the middle and tries to act as an obsequious intermediary, inserting himself into the feminine power struggle in a particularly masochistic and unhelpful way. The result is often increasing frustration on the part of both your mother and your woman, purposeful misunderstandings and overly diplomatic language, with no real resolution in sight. The Beta just wants everyone to get along, and he will bust his ass in a fevered sweat trying to appease both wife and mother.
This rarely, if ever, works to his advantage and ultimately sets him up for innumerable future problems stemming from his lack of backbone. By the time "Man Up!" is heard from either party, Mr. Blue Pill has usually already traded the last shreds of his testicles for magic beans or somesuch, and the impact of the command is lessened simply because Mr. Blue Pill has long given up on his own masculinity in an attempt at negotiating domestic harmony. Ten years later he's often divorced and bitter because both his wife and his mother lost respect for his lack of Alpha. (Yes, your Mom is a woman, too, and responds to your Alpha just like any other woman. Don't get all Oedipus-creepy about this, though. Your mother's perspective on your masculinity is only sexual in the most obtuse sort of way. She's looking for validation that she produced a strong male worthy of providing her descendants).
So how does the Red Pill man respond to his wife and/or mother telling him to "Man Up!" in regards to the other party? Simple. He drags both of them into the same room and he makes them be silent for ten minutes while he chews both of them out for their juvenile and disrespectful behavior.
And that's the general key to all such "Man Up!" commands. If you have a hard time evaluating a complex situation enough to give a cogent and eloquent response, then a prompt and direct expression of your own sense of masculinity, delivered forcefully and meaningfully, should be sufficient to a) get her off your back and b) do so in such a way that's pure Alpha, and not Beta (which is what she's accusing you of) in the slightest.
Here's a few practice lines:
Gentle response: "Honey, I can appreciate what your saying, and I understand your position. However, if you call my masculinity into question even once more during this conversation, it will be over, we'll be having another, altogether different discussion, and there will be unpleasant consequences and repercussions. Is that understood?"
Moderate response (Set Sarcasm controls to "disintegrate"): "Gosh, thank you ever so much for your opinion of my masculinity. I'm terribly sorry you see it as so deficient, but since you don't happen to own a pair of fucking testicles and I do, I think I'm going to have to be the judge of that. Just because I'm not doing what you want me to doesn't mean I'm unmanly, it means I'm a man with my own fucking brain, which also means I don't take poorly-contrived, selfishly-motivated juvenile crap like 'man up' lightly, even from a woman who is supposed to me on MY fucking team. Now maybe you should disappear for a little while, because if you were trying to piss me off and get me angry, you succeeded . . . and right now it would be in the best interests of our relationship if I wasn't being reminded of that."
Severe Response (USE WITH CAUTION): Unzip pants, drop them to your knees. Grasp and brandish your genitalia in a crude and threatening way. Approach your wife, never taking your eyes off of her. Get well within her comfort zone of "personal space" until you can feel her exhaled breath on your face. Your intensity and determination in this case is key. She should be shocked, nervous, and maybe even a little frightened.
Say, very quietly with just a hint of menace in your voice, "If you need a reminder of my masculinity, that can be arranged. But until your balls are bigger than mine, then I'd count it as a personal favor if you would shut the fuck up about my masculinity, lest I take it as an invitation to prove it to you. Because that's perhaps the most insulting and disrespectful thing you've ever said to me. Really, that's the kind of shit I'd expect to hear out of a brainless teenager's mouth, not a grown and allegedly mature woman. So don't even speak, don't say a fucking word to me right now, because I'm teetering on the edge of a serious and very masculine blow-up and I'm really exerting a lot of effort to avoid that. If you were a man who said that to me like that, we'd already be fighting. Since you're not, I'd strongly recommend you retreat from my presence and reconsider your advice. Then after I've calmed down, if you still think my actions aren't 'manly' enough for your tastes, then we can arrange for that demonstration. Now I'm going to put my large, hairy nutsack away, and I'm going to walk away, and I don't want to hear another fucking word from you until you're ready to sincerely apologize to me for your profound rudeness."
Turn, walk away, and carefully replace genitalia in pants without accidentally zipping up your scrotum. (Writhing on the ground clutching your crotch in pain after that particular speech is going to seriously kill your credibility.)
All three of the above responses should be sufficient, but the over-all rule-of-thumb about this is that when a woman challenges your masculinity with "Man Up", you respond with unabashed, balls-in-your-face unmitigated and unwatered ALPHA. That's the essential nature of this shit-test, and the only appropriate and beneficial response is a strong Alpha Move.
When your woman tells you to "Man Up", it doesn't matter what the issue is -- the first order of business for a Red Pill man is to correct the bad behavior and let her know, in no uncertain terms, that her "suggestion" has now taken center stage, regardless of how serious the other issue might be.
When you allowed her into your boat and under your command, then it was with the tacit understanding that she would be supportive of you and respectful of your masculinity -- as respectful as you are to her femininity. Telling you to "Man Up" isn't good First Officer advice, it's tantamount to mutiny, and it should be treated as such. An attack on your masculinity like "Man Up" is a direct violation of the Rules of Engagement as a kidney punch, and should be treated accordingly.
Whatever you do, don't let the remark pass un-noted. Indeed, the proper response is good ol' fashioned masculine righteous anger -- you might be making the wrong decision or taking the wrong attitude for the situation, but the simple fact of the matter is that it's YOUR FUCKING JOB to make decisions, and you and you alone are the proper judge of your own sense of masculinity. Your woman gave you the endorsement and validation of her perspective on your masculinity when she got onto your boat. There should be no questioning that in your marriage until she gets off your boat -- voluntarily or not. Basically, if you're the kind of man who will put up with that kind of shit from her, then you deserve the consequences of that.
I'm lucky: Mrs. Ironwood has used that particular tactic less than a handful of times, and all within the first few years of our relationship. Once she realized that I'm open to plenty of constructive criticism, but my sense of masculinity was off the table and not up for her review, she backed off the tactic as unproductive. And since one of the last times she pulled it landed her in marital counseling for a couple of uncomfortable weeks, she grew to understand that this is a generally unproductive tactic to take.
Convince your woman that it's unproductive in the most forceful of terms, and she'll back off the "Man Up" shaming language, too. But it's your responsibility as a Red Pill husband to enforce that rule. It sucks, it might get you into an even bigger fight, but if you don't win this one then winning all the others isn't going to make a damn bit of difference.