phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

"put someone on a pedestal"

Posted by Smokey Stover on June 10, 2006

In Reply to: "Put oneself on a pedestal" posted by pamela on June 09, 2006

: : : Can anyone tell me the meaning of the phrase "put oneself on a pedestal". Orginally I thought it meant to put yourself in a situation that could easily turn out badly, but that seems to be wrong.

: : Pedestals are where you put big marble statues of famous people, gods, and other such hotshots. If you put yourself on a pedestal, you're rising above your station, putting on airs, thinking too much of yourself, and headed (like Ozymandius) for a fall.

: I've only ever heard of someone putting someone else on a pedestal, meaning that the person cannot seek any faults in another person (i.e raising them to the status of a famous person, god or so on). And yes, if you do that then inevitably the person will reveal themself to be human after all and fall. Pamela

Pamela is so right that it hurts. Part of the cult of chivalry in the 12th and 13th centuries included putting well-born women on pedestals, making them paragons of the ideal, but not the real. (Wives were at home, not on pedestals, doing the spinning.) There have always been men claiming to honor women by putting them on pedestals, either individual women or the whole sex, calling the women (or girls) "princess," chaining them to their alabaster perfection and not permitting them to be human. Horrible crimes have been committed against women who fell off the pedestal. Beware the men who claim too loudly to honor women!
♪ SS ♪