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I'd like to find some gender-neutral equivalents of the phrase

Take it like a man

I'm not looking only for existing phrases -- any interesting ideas for expressing the sentiment "be tough", without implying that only one gender or the other would be tough, are welcome.

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7 Answers 7

up vote 24 down vote accepted

"Keep a stiff upper lip"

"Keep your chin up"

"Take one for the team"

"Grin and bear it"

"Suck it up"

"Roll with the punches"

"Nil illegitimi carborundum"

and a personal favorite, especially in context of this question,

"Put on your big girl panties"

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7  
The last one, IMHO, is not exactly gender neutral. –  Peter Olson Jun 9 '11 at 4:39
2  
Definitely not gender neutral (though at least as gender neutral as "cowboy up"). Equally definitely does not "imply that only a man would be tough". –  chaos Jun 9 '11 at 4:40
    
Great list! I've always seen the "carborundum" phrase start with "Non" (not like that would make it any more correct, of course :). –  Josh Caswell Jun 9 '11 at 4:43
4  
I think big girl panties can be worn by either gender. Nice one. –  KitFox Jun 9 '11 at 12:55
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@Kit: Thanks. I certainly use it in that fashion. ('s why I compared it to "cowboy up"; both contain a gendered term but need not be used consistently with it.) –  chaos Jun 9 '11 at 15:09

The gender neutral form of man is adult or grown-up, so I would suggest:

Take it like an adult

Take it like a grown-up

These are not as idiomatic and do not really preserve the original force of the statement, but that's how gender neutrality often goes.

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Definitely lacking the same zing, but might serve as insults! –  Josh Caswell Jun 9 '11 at 4:45
  • Take it on the chin!

  • Take it like a trooper.

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Harden up

Toughen up

No guts, no glory!

An appropriate equivalent would be like:

Take it like a champ!

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Cowboy up!

I have heard this expression used by men and women alike, and directed at men and women alike.

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Take your medicine

It's a bit old fashioned, but conveys the same meaning.

Also:

Don't be such a cry baby.

Another idea:

Take it like a unicorn.

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My favourite:

Suck it up, princess

Not exactly gender-neutral

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3  
I'd say it actually is gender-neutral in this case! Well, sort of, anyway. It works well (and I've often heard it used) on both genders. Bit of a different jab depending on the gender, but same results either way. –  user12183 Aug 21 '11 at 7:47
1  
It's used on both genders, but it is emphatically not gender-neutral. When used on a man, the insult comes from comparing him to a woman. The whole concept of this expression is that being called female is an insult. Not a good choice. –  TRiG Apr 25 '12 at 19:19
    
@TRiG, I would say the insult comes from comparing a man to a princess, a particular type of woman, not to women in general. –  dangph Jul 4 '13 at 23:40

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