When you hear the phrase, “Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” what comes to mind?
“Pull yourself up” implies that this is something you do yourself, by your own effort.
“By your bootstraps.” Can you actually pull yourself up by your bootstraps? Stop right now and try to imagine doing this. It’s impossible. You need someone to help you up, trust me.
This idiom is basically communicating to an individual that if they just work harder and apply themselves more, they will be in a better financial situation. The implication is that it’s their fault if they are lacking in resources to climb the economic ladder.
In essence, the phrase “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is another way of promoting the myth of the American Dream – that if you work hard and persevere – you can achieve great success.
Wesley finds this phrase insensitive, illogical and ignorant.
“Any boots that they do have, they earned them themselves and they worked hard for them. They fought through a lot of things to get where they are today.”