Is saying ‘too’ sexist?

Although first-year Cameron Schaeffer has written for the Huffington Post before, she has not received anywhere near as much attention as her most recent column.

The Oct. 26 editorial, titled “The 3-Letter Word That Cuts Women Down Every Day,” focused on how the use of the adverb “too” deprives women of self-satisfaction and appreciation, currently has over 12,000 likes and 2,000 shares, as well as responses from multiple conservative media outlets.

Schaeffer has written two columns for the Huffington Post, but her first column did not garner nearly as much attention as her most recent article.

Schaeffer discusses her article and the debate it started. COLE WANGSNESS/The Vermont Cynic

“I’m just a college freshman,” Schaeffer said. “I’m not a full-fledged journalist or a PR specialist, so it’s been weird to try to manage this and figure out what my next step is.”

Schaeffer’s editorial highlights the constant scrutiny women face to meet societal standards, while specifically pointing out damage she believes is caused by the word “too.”

“I have determined that ‘too’ means you’re calling a woman ‘too’ far away from your idyllic version of what a woman should be,” she writes in the op-ed. “Something as small as calling a woman’s dress ‘too’ long or her muscles ‘too’ built has a much larger social construct.”

Schaeffer said that her inspiration behind the editorial came from a passion for combating intolerance, but she only feels comfortable speaking from her own voice and about issues she has experienced firsthand.

Some students agree with Schaeffer’s point, but many also see flaws in her piece.

“Although I agree with her that society’s view regarding women is fucked, words don’t have any power and people need [to] change first,” junior Kelly Costello said. “I’m still paid less. I’m still far more likely to get killed by my male partner than vice versa. The word ‘too’ is honestly the least of my fucking problems as a feminist.”

Junior Sandy Halbing had a similar reaction toward the piece.

“I see the message she is trying to get across, and it’s important,” she said. “But I don’t think scrutinizing the use of one common adverb is the right approach to tackling the issue.”

Nancy Welch, an English professor at UVM, said she feels Schaeffer’s article is powerfully written and important.

“I don’t hear Ms. Schaeffer arguing that the word ‘“too’” is the cause of sexism and misogyny,” Welch said. “I do hear her arguing, persuasively, that ‘too’ is a marker of an unjust and sexist social order and a prime tool through which that social order is reproduced, justified and naturalized.”

“Consciousness-raising is an important task of feminism,” Welch said, “and I thank Cameron Schaeffer for raising the consciousness of Huff Post readers about the uses of ‘too’ in denigrating and subordinating women. She is not going ‘too’ far with this argument— not at all.”

Responding to criticism over her article, Schaeffer said she mostly feels empowered, and feels a lot of the responses reinforce her overall message.

“When you’re a woman and you put yourself out there with a strong opinion, I thought those comments were just proof of the need for feminism,” Schaeffer said.

Some responses to her article said she was “whiny”, and one even referred to her as a “sensitive slut,” she said.

Paul Joseph Watson of InfoWars was among those to call her “whiny.”

“Cameron Schaeffer, who describes herself as a ‘devout feminist,’ has succeeded in penning one of the most cringe worthy, whiny, ‘first world problem’ articles that you’re ever likely to read,” said Paul Joseph Watson, a columnist at InfoWars.

InfoWars is an Internet News Show, according to their website.