Putting your foot down?

中国日报网 2018-04-03 11:55



Putting your foot down?Reader question:

Please explain this passage:

Without much of my help, she does well on her own. Sure, sometimes she wants to wear shorts in the dead of winter and I must put my foot down, but 99 percent of the time she dresses as she pleases.

What does “put my foot down” mean here?

My comments:

Sounds like a mother telling a tale about how to help develop a dress code for her daughter.

Dress code?

That’s a set of rules on clothing, i.e. how to dress yourself, what to wear on different occasions.

“Put my foot down” means the mother has to be strict with her daughter sometimes, in order to enforce the rules – here essentially forbidding her daughter to “wear shorts in the dead of winter”.

Apparently she has to stamp her foot hard on the floor to make a thumping noise and appear stern looking, looking mad and angry and perhaps unloving while she gives the young girl a lecturing.

Stamping her foot down is a way of emphasizing who is boss – or mom, I shall say.

Anyways, that’s what “putting one’s foot down” literally means. Literally, when we want to assert ourselves and make a point and emphasize it, we sometimes stamp our foot on the floor, utilizing the thumping noise we make as an assistant.

It’s like when we want to demonstrate our resolve and determination, we sometimes slam our fist on the table.

Or it’s like some people saying a swear word.

Or two.

At any rate, “putting one’s foot down” is a way of expressing our strong determination when we want to make some point clear, take a stand while showing we are resolute, unyielding – even to the point of being stubborn. In other words, we are not backing down.

In our example, the mother makes a strong demand that time for her daughter to put more clothes on (since it’s in the dead of a cold winter). And by putting her foot down, she means to send a message, a clear message that it’s the mother’s decision alone to make, that it’s not something negotiable and that the young daughter has but to heed mom advice and do accordingly.

Note: It’s almost always someone putting their foot down, never feet.

Apparently stamping both one’s feet down on the floor likely makes one look like doing a crazy dance rather than appear stern, solemn and resolute.

Joking aside, let’s examine a few media examples of people having to put their foot down in various and sundry situations:

1. Dee Hunt never smoked.

Neither did her five sisters and brothers. They didn’t have exposure to radon or asbestos, either. That didn’t prevent every one of them from being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Their parents were smokers, but they'd all left home more than 30 years before any of them were diagnosed. For most of her life, secondhand smoke was not ever raised as a health risk or concern.

“I thought it was only smoking-related,” Hunt said in a recent interview of her early impressions of lung cancer. Now she knows better. “It’s in our environment. It’s what we breathe. It’s in our genes.”

Hunt’s older sister died of lung cancer only six months after being diagnosed with the disease. That diagnosis was preceded by three years of being misdiagnosed with pneumonia.

That ordeal prompted Hunt, now 58, to take her health into her own hands. She began pushing for a screening of her lungs to identify any cancer. She ultimately got the screening and, when she did, doctors discovered a small tumor. Her other siblings followed suit, with all of them ultimately diagnosed with tumors of various sizes.

Hunt was treated, having a lobe of the affected lung removed. At that point, she said, she was told she was cancer free. But, in a few months, troublesome symptoms -- a cough, a pain in her back -- resurfaced. She returned to the facility treating her and was diagnosed with a lung infection and assured her cancer did not return. After months of antibiotics, her symptoms worsened. She was diagnosed with cancer -- this time in the opposite lung, and the doctors wanted to remove the entire lung. She was 53.


Hunt now has some advice for people diagnosed with lung cancer, or any cancer.

Get a second opinion. Hunt was first diagnosed with a lung infection, so she had lung surgery. But surgery alone did not address her illness. When her cancer returned and was misdiagnosed, she was frustrated, to say the very least. To go from being told it was an infection to her doctor advising her to remove an entire lung finally pushed her to a getting a second opinion. “I was so afraid to hurt a doctor’s feelings, I didn’t put my foot down.”


2. Hollywood actress Charlize Theron has urged women to “put their foot down” over equal pay, after telling how she negotiated a fair deal in her latest movie.

Leaked documents recently revealed a number of female actresses who had been paid less than their co-stars.

In an interview with Elle magazine, Ms Theron said she was given equal pay with her co-stars for her role in the forthcoming Snow White and the Huntsman sequel, after she simply demanded to earn the same.

Ms Theron said: “I have to give them credit because once I asked, they said yes. They did not fight it. And maybe that’s the message: That we just need to put our foot down. ”

The Oscar-winning actress said too many people thought feminism was about hating men, when it simply meant equal rights.

“This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing,” she told Elle. “It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way.”

- Charlize Theron tells women: put your foot down about equal pay, Telegraph.co.uk, May 6, 2015.

3. Movie star-turned-business mogul Jessica Alba just celebrated the sixth birthday of her business, The Honest Company. The company — with its arsenal of products ranging from patterned diapers to organic belly balm — has pivoted Alba’s reputation as one of an A-list actress to an established entrepreneur.

But at the beginning of building her business, despite her fame, Alba admits it wasn’t easy.

“I just felt so alone on this journey,” Alba says on the CNN podcast, “Boss Files with Poppy Harlow.”

Alba admitted it was difficult to assert herself. “It’s tough when you’re the only woman in the room, in the board room,” Alba says.

In the beginning, she was one of three co-founders, who were all men, she explains. She says there was a difference in priorities.

“It’s not that they didn’t want to [add women to the board],” Alba tells Harlow. “When you’re thinking month to month about your financial goals, and that’s more important than building a long-term vision and strategy, it’s just a different mentality on how to build something.”

She adds that her husband, Cash Warren gave her good advice when he reminded her of the importance of listening and learning, but Alba says, “there’s also a point where you’ve got to put your foot down.”

- Jessica Alba felt ‘so alone’ in the early days of her company, CNBC.com, February 6, 2018.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)



















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