Suck it up and deal

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"Suck it up and deal" is a common silencing response to complaints of sexism.


"Bob" asks "Alice" for an example of why female students may feel unwelcome in computer science classrooms, and Alice says, "Suppose you walk into a classroom and the first thing you hear is the lecturer saying 'we need to make our systems so usable that even your mom could use them'; would you feel more or less welcome?" It's common for Bob to respond that he wouldn't feel unwelcome in such a situation if he were a woman, because he would just suck it up and deal; after all, Bob would say, computer scientists frequently use "so easy your mom could use it" as a benchmark, and anyway, why would he let that stop him from being interested in computer science?


'Suck it up and deal' and its variations deconstruct as a combination of blaming the victim for their feelings, implied denial of experience, implied demand of personal endurance against a system of oppression, explicit expression of no compassion nor interest, and explicit demand for the person to be silenced.

As a rhetorical device, "Suck it up and deal" serves as a double bind: if you fail to give examples of sexist comments or behavior, you're accused of inventing a problem. If you do give examples, almost any example can be dismissed as something women would be able to deal with if they weren't oversensitive / overemotional / not really interested in technology anyway.

"Suck it up and deal" is also a convenient way of disregarding the emotional labor required to, in fact, suck it up and deal (something almost any woman in a technical career already does frequently just to get through the day), the toll that such labor takes on a person over time, and the energy it drains that could otherwise go into work. Like the Male experience trump card, "Suck it up and deal" is a way for people who have never had sexist comments aimed at them to deny the reality that such comments have an effect.

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