20

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.

  • A word that I've heard one group of my younger friends starting to use recently as a colloquial, gender neutral equivalent to "man up" is "fortify". It's a new one to me, though, so I can't attest to how widespread its usage is. – a25bedc5-3d09-41b8-82fb-ea6c353d75ae Jul 24 '16 at 20:46
  • "Be an adult!". – Hot Licks Aug 16 '17 at 3:28
31

"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"

  • 12
    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
  • 5
    I think big girl panties can be worn by either gender. Nice one. – Kit Z. Fox Jun 9 '11 at 12:55
  • 1
    @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
14

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.

  • Definitely lacking the same zing, but might serve as insults! – Josh Caswell Jun 9 '11 at 4:45
6

Harden up

Toughen up

No guts, no glory!

An appropriate equivalent would be like:

Take it like a champ!

4
  • Take it on the chin!

  • Take it like a trooper.

3

Cowboy up!

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

2

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.

2

I suggest "bite the bullet." Toughness implied, no specific genitalia required.

-1

My favourite:

Suck it up, princess

Not exactly gender-neutral

  • 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
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    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
  • 1
    @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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