8 things we say are brave (but really aren't.)

If this cat went to the movies alone, would you call him brave?

There are plenty of activities that could legitimately be called brave.

Being diagnosed with cancer, and doing everything you can to keep living your life. Fighting on the front line. Fighting fires. Speaking out about mental illness, a hugely stigmatised topic.

And then there are the things that are called ‘brave’ on a semi-regular basis that, well, maybe aren’t so much.

So we’ve decided that instead of calling these activities ‘brave’ – and so implying that you’re overcoming some sort of terror that’s worse than Lord Voldemort – we should start calling them something else entirely.

Here we go.

1. Not wearing make up.

Yes, by not wearing make up you are shaking off the shackles of the patriarchy and society, and daring to show your face exactly as it is. And that’s fantastic – all the power to you. But when absolutely gorgeous celebrities go without make-up, are they really being ‘brave’? If we pop down to the corner store for a carton of milk and a Mars bar without taking a trip to the powder room, are we really being ‘brave’?

Not so much.

Let’s just call it being awesome.

2. Being single.

Anyone who has been single for any significant period of time, has undoubtedly experienced this one at large social engagements. Weddings, baby showers, your cousin’s birthday, having a wine night with your female friends… At some point the topic of your relationship status will come up, and if you don’t immediately throw yourself to ground and start bawling – i.e. show that you are appropriately upset at not being loved-up – someone will assume that your attitude is just bravado. Secretly, you’re in a lot of pain, but you’re not showing it.

It’s so brave. 

Actually, no. It’s just being comfortable with your own company.

And that’s awesome.

Beth Ditto wearing whatever she damn well pleases.

3. Daring to be anything other than a size 6, and still wearing whatever the hell you want.

If you don’t look like a model and you dare to wear a bodycon-style dress – you’re (apparently) brave. Because you’d have to have so much courage to be comfortable in a body like that, right?

No. Because it’s not brave. It’s just plain awesome.


4. Letting yourself be tagged in unflattering photos on Faceboook.

And not immediately freaking out and untagging yourself.

This shouldn’t be called ‘brave’. This should be called ‘having a healthy relationship with social media’. Which is awesome.

5. Going to the movies alone.

Going to the movies alone is something that seems to scare a lot of people – but it’s really not that bad.

Technically you’re not supposed to be talking during a movie anyway, and although it can be disappointing to not have anyone to giggle with/roll your eyes at during appropriate moments in the film, it’s certainly not terrifying. Seeing a movie alone does not require a lot of courage.

Plus, it’s much easier to find time to see a film, if you don’t have to fit in with someone else’s schedule. Awesome.

6. Trying a… unique… fashion trend.

For example: When you make the decision to wear a mullet dress over leather leggings, and somebody tells you, “That’s so… brave.” Clearly they are facetious – but making a few questionable fashion choices throughout your lifetime is not going to be the end of the world.

It’s not called ‘brave’. It’s called ‘having fun’ and being generally awesome.

Pixie Geldof with grey hair.

7. Having grey hair and not dyeing it.

See point 1.

But seriously: even the hipsters are dyeing their hair grey nowadays. You’re just an awesome trendsetter.

8. Wearing a bikini after having kids.

You shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of your post-baby body in the first place – and saying that this is ‘brave’, is the same as saying that you have something to hide.

You don’t. Your body does a million and one amazing things every day, and you don’t need to resent it for a few extra stretch marks or padding around the middle.

Wearing a bikini after having kids isn’t brave. It’s just being your awesome self, and wearing whatever you damn well want.

Can you think of any other things that are routinely called ‘brave’, that really aren’t? Or do you disagree, and think that some of the examples above – like wearing no makeup – really ARE brave?

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