Have You Lost Your Moxie?
As the winter nights draw in my poor screen deprived children are allowed to watch the occasional film and tonight it was a DVD (how quaint) of ‘Night at the Museum 2’, I haven’t watched 1 but I caught on pretty fast; I’m glad to see my excessive higher education was not for nothing.
They (and I) are banned from screens from when the clocks spring forward until the clocks fall back or in the following circumstances:
- Torrential and unending rain
- Extreme sickness and debilitation
- Exhaustion after a day of imaginary play out in the wilds of Snowdon with friends
- We or they are at someone else’s house in which case the ‘when in Rome..’ rule supersedes the ‘no screen when you could be outside playing’ rule.
Today it was ‘3’. Please feel free to show this bit of the blog to your own children so they know however much they complain about you, it could be a lot worse.
I won’t spoil the plot in case you too are lucky enough to watch it, suffice to say that Amelia Earhart (the first woman to fly across the Atlantic) is a lead character in the film and she accuses museum guard turned commercial torch manufacturer Larry, that he has ‘lost his Moxie’.
Until tonight I didn’t know what ‘moxy’ or ‘moxie’ means.
It turns out it may be my new favourite word so be warned anyone who spends time with me.
- ‘Force of character, determination or nerve’ (informal noun, North America).
- ‘When someone has balls, they have moxy’
- ‘Courage or confidence’
- ‘Fortitude, determination’ Synonymous with ‘grit’ and ‘gumption’
- Possibly of Yiddish origin from the German ‘Macht’s sie’ which basically means ‘power’ or’ ability” (except that my A level German means that I think ‘Macht’s sie’ means ‘Are you doing…?’. But then I did only get a D so I could be wrong
- Apparently it’s trending now (whatever trending means)
- ‘Pluck’, ‘daring, ‘courage’ or ‘nerve’
- It is also an American sort drink.
If your kids are still reading..now is the time to send them to their room to reflect on their luck at being born to you and not me.
So what does this mean for us ladies? It means that we have another noun for ‘courage’ determination and spirit’
Let’s look at what our slang options have been to date: We could, up to now, claim to have ‘balls’, ‘bo..cks’ or ‘sp..k’ (ew).
When I lived in Madrid I grew to like ‘cojones’ because when you say it the ‘j’ sound makes a harsh guttural explosion which sounds fierce but it still means ‘bollocks’.
Lovely. And interestingly all masculine.
I don’t have anything against testicles and sperm, and have been know to access them for the mutual pleasure of the owner and myself. However I don’t want to ‘have’ them.
Gentlemen you may of course keep ‘balls’, ‘bollocks and ‘sp..k’ and although you could share ‘moxie’, I just think that would be greedy as you’ve already got a whole armoury of words and us women haven’t.
So I’m going to propose that women of the world claim the word ‘Moxie’ as our own.
Not just the word itself, but look how fantastic those definitions are. When did you last think of yourself as having ‘force of character’ or ‘fortitude’?
- When did you last exercise your ‘pluck’ and ‘daring’?
I don’t think my adventurousness abstract nouns have been getting out enough.
In fact let’s get this syntactically rectified now.
- Noun – Moxie/moxy
- Verb – to moxie/moxy
- Adjective – she is really moxilicious
- Adverb – she delivered her resignation speech moxiliciously.
Why does it matter?
Because words like ‘courage’, ‘pluck’ , daring’ and ‘fortitude’ are more often used in relation to men, than to women: qualities seen as more ‘masculine’ than ‘feminine’ and you don’t need to be a post-structuralist-feminist to see what poppycock that is (There are male genitals everywhere tonight for some reason!)
If we can’t name something we can’t claim it. Think of all the colloquial words for ‘penis’..how many did you get…7? 10? More?
Now how many words to you know for your vagina, clitoris, vulva and labia? (ps if you’re cringing as you read you’re kind of proving my point that unless we find words we can relate to we are disconnected from the thing the word describes).
Many of the words for female sexual organs are ones used by men (although I know Caitlin Moran revels in the ‘c’ word – not many women I know do). What do you call yours? Your daughter’s?
Over the years I’ve heard ‘front bottom’, ‘fairy’, ‘tuppenny slot’ (ew), ‘foof’, ‘angel garden’ and ‘twinkle’.
Are there any of those that really describe the power and pleasure of what we have ‘down there’?
Language matters and we’re going to get moxilicious RIGHT NOW and change that.
I am going to claim moxy/moxie as my own and I am going to pay attention to those qualities in myself and others.
So men grab your balls and women grab your moxie and ask yourself:
- When were you last courageous?
- What were you last determined?
- When did you show fortitude and pluck??
And here’s the rub, when I ask myself those questions I answer them in a different way from Amelia Earhart.
- I was courageous last night when I told a friend the truth about how I was feeling even though it was scary.
- I am determined every day that I make my kids a priority and manage my work load to get to the school gates
- I show fortitude when my eldest is stropping and hating me because I’m making him do homework
- I show pluck when I phone people up and ask if I can work with them.
So there’s two bits to this, whether you’re a man, woman, boy or girl.
The first step is to notice how we already have these qualities, to name them so we can claim them. To appreciate that sitting up all night with a sick child or an aging parent takes fortitude. To know that it takes courage to leave a job that pays well in order to do something you love. It take pluck to stand up to someone who is crossing your boundaries. It takes strength of character to stand up for what you think is right.
So Step 1 – Let’s start to notice when we are gritty, plucky, brave, courageous, determined and show our strength of character already.
Step 2 – let’s turn our moxie settings up.
- Are there situations in your life right now that you need to have more courage in?
- Are there any situations which require higher octane fortitude and determination?
Or let’s turn it around.
Think of something in your life you would like to change or you wish was better.
- If you knew you were courageous, what would you do?
- If you believed you have strength of character, what would you do?
- If you trusted yourself to have determination and fortitude, what would you do?
- If you knew you had Moxie what would you do?
- So do it
Because in Night at the Museum 2 it is clear to see that not only did the character Amelia Earhart fly across the Atlantic because she had Moxie, but by flying across the Atlantic, she increased her Moxy.
Ben Stiller’s character had lost his Moxy and gained it by doing what he didn’t think he could do.
Moxie/moxy isn’t a thought, it’s an action.
It is attitude in action.
Let’s go Moxie.
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