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Annals of microaggression: HuffPost writer decides the adverb “too” is secretly sexist

October 30, 2015

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Life is so hard!

In a 1,300-word essay for the Huffington Post, Cameron Schaeffer, a freshman at the University of Vermont, explains why “too” is “the three-letter word that cuts down women every day.”

“There seems to be an unobtainable one-millimeter-wide mark of perfection, and none of us can reach it. Everything is too this or too that. We see it every day in the tabloids. For example, one day a female celebrity is too revealing and the next day she is too matronly.

“In my experience, I rarely hear too thrown around about men. You hear someone say, ‘He’s short,’ but you seldom hear ‘too short.’ I hear women and men alike each day describing women as too something. But what does it really mean when you call a woman too? I asked myself, ‘too what?’ I have determined that too means you’re calling a woman too far away from your idyllic vision of what a woman should be. Something as small as calling a woman’s dress too long or her muscles too built has a much larger social construct. With all the varying tastes and cultures in this world, it is impossible for a woman — or anyone, for that matter — to fulfill everyone’s criteria. And why is it our responsibility to satisfy them, anyway?”

What triggered Schaeffer’s discovery of the appalling misogynist meaning of that tiny modifier? It seems that she looked in the mirror and wondered whether she ought to change her hairstyle. A friend told her she wouldn’t want her new ‘do to be “too long or too short.” Life for a woman is so hard!

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen
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