Duke Students List 'Man Up' Among Derogatory Phrases

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 02:45 PM

By Courtney Coren

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As part of a campaign at Duke University to discourage the use of popular phrases that might be offensive to others, the phrase "man up" is listed alongside "that's so gay" and "don't be a p----" as a phrase that's too insulting.

The creators of the "You Don't Say? Campaign" say they are trying "to raise awareness around the misuse of language that relates to the LGBTQ community and gender issues," it explains on its Facebook page.

Words and phrases the group says "dehumanize and marginalize" such as "b----" and "no homo" are in the same category as "man up" because they contain implications about gender and sexual orientation.

The campaign features black-and-white photos of students along with the phrase they vow not to say along with an explanation.

"I don't say 'man up' because the strongest people I know have cried in front of me, regardless of their age, gender or sex," says one student.

"I don't say 'that's so gay' because the words gay and stupid are not interchangeable," another one says.

"I don't say 'don't be a p----' because it implies that having a certain body feature is indicative of being a coward," said another.

"Language is a reflection of how we think about others and view the world," Jay Sullivan, a student leader of the campaign told Duke Today. "My goals is to . . . . help facilitate discussion about how language affects many social issues, from race to gender and sexuality."

The campaign has gone viral via social media and has been featured in several national media outlets such as BuzzFeed.com  and The Huffington Post.

Grove City College economics professor Mark Hendrickson said that he's concerned about the unintended consequences of the campaign, The College Fix reported.

"I'm a little concerned about censoring a phrase like 'man up' . . . a world without manliness, like a world without femininity . . . would be a pretty dismal place," Hendrickson said.

The group is a collaboration of Think Before You Talk  and Blue Devils United, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer group on campus.

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