Buck Up

I love that term ‘Buck Up.’ I know many would say that using it conflicts with the message of this post because I’m delving into gender issues in the workplace and to ‘buck up’ means to ‘man up,’ but ‘hind up’ has an entirely different connotation that I’m not sure would be helpful here.

So let’s go with it and look at its exegesis:

If we’re ‘bucking up’ then we’re rearing our horns, which sounds way more fierce than ‘rearing our antlers.’ We’re defending our home, our territory, we’re defending who we are. It’s not about being on the attack; it’s about being strong, stoic, graceful and not glossing over the truth. If we’re ‘bucking up’ we’re rising to an occasion – we’re in charge of our territory.

By ‘our territory’ I primarily mean the ‘self’ but this also stretches into our immediate environments of work and home.

It’s been said over and over again that when a woman cries at work or expresses dissatisfaction with the way she is being treated she should ‘buck up’ and ‘take it like a man’ (wtf does that mean anyway? The phrase should really be ‘Take it like a woman giving birth without drugs.’) Yet, when she does ‘buck up’ she is being offensive. She has to be careful of whom she might offend.

In many work environments women are expected to dance around the truth, to avoid directness and actively placate instead of actively get things done.

I don’t know how to do that. I’m a big epic failure at that – not just in the office, but in life in general.

I don’t want to placate, I don’t want to dance, I want to get things done.

I don’t even dance when flirting. The last guy I made a move on I blurted out ‘So we should date.’ Why waste the time? Time is precious.

Still, people reacted oddly to that, or rather, they found that action odd. But really, if I was a man and I walked up to a girl I was interested in and said ‘we should date’ it would be considered relatively normal.

Likewise, I’m assertive in the business sphere. I’ve seen plenty of correspondence and been in enough meetings with male executives to know how they play ‘the game’ of business. It’s direct, it’s honest, and sure, sometimes it’s brutal, but it’s all about getting things done. If a male executive hurts someone’s feelings by being… well, professionally honest it’s time for the offended to ‘buck up.’

Yet, as a woman, if I approach someone in a professional assertive manner I need to ‘buck down.’

Sorry, that’s not going to happen.

People seem to be afraid of the ambition of others, of the assertiveness of others, as if my desire to succeed and to accomplish goals somehow threatens their professional career. This line of thinking is beyond prevalent when it comes to women in the workplace. Women need to watch how they say things, we need to watch our assertiveness, because you know, an assertive woman is a villainess whose only goal is to make other people feel small and not actually to be proactive and successful while helping others to succeed.

What I say to that is – Buck up, ladies and gents.

Don’t ask other people to downgrade based on your own insecurities and your perception of that person’s value.

When an opportunity to rise presents itself take it.

Do not expect, or demand, that others come down to your level just because you refuse to rise to theirs.

Some of us may step down, hide our horns, but the rest of us are just going to look at you and say:

‘Buck the Fuck Up.’

—-This post is brought to you by the phrases
‘Watch what you say’
‘You make others feel small’
and the letters ‘F’ and ‘U’

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