Good Lord I hate that phrase, and it’s partner ‘stop being such a girl.’ Here’s why:
1. What is wrong with being a girl?? I was a girl once, even a little girl, and I remember it being awesome. There was nothing second class or insulting about it. It wasn’t until I was older when I realized that not everyone felt the same.
So when people say ‘stop being a girl’ you’re insinuating that being a girl is awful, stupid, and a horrible thing to call someone. It’s not. Calling someone a girl is calling them half of the population. That’s it. Making it into this insult to masculinity or an insult to your bravery is just petty, sexist, and wrong.
We live in a world where, despite all the hard work of feminists, being a girl is still being second class. Somehow, being a girl, or having something think you are girly is horrible enough to be an insult, an attack on your masculinity and your very being. Using this ‘insult’ and not saying anything when those around you use it, keeps perpetuating the idea that girls are lesser, girls are weak, girls are fragile, fear-consumed beings. God forbid you are one or have one.
I think what really gets to me is that people just shrug this off when I mention it. ‘Oh I didn’t mean that,’ they say. Which leads me to point number 2…
2. It is not what you really mean. I think there is a rampant epidemic of not saying what you mean in this country (and probably in other places too). We say things that mean other things and assume that’s ok. When you say ‘stop being such a girl’ what you really mean is ‘stop being so [silly][scared][weak][fickle][etc].’ If you said what you really meant, there wouldn’t be a stigma around being a girl. So stop it. Stop trying to cover up what you what to say by taking down an entire gender. Start saying what you think and call your friends scare-di-cats.
I have a friend who used to say this all the time. Each time he would say it, I would counter, ‘say what you really mean. You mean he’s being stupid.’ After several times of me butting in and speaking my mind, he stopped saying it. He got the point to clear out veiled meanings and say what he really meant. And the best part? He now tells others about it. See what can happen when we say what we mean to say?