Tag Archives: disarm

Link: Gendered spelling

I read this post a couple days ago and I’m linking to it here because it has stuck in my mind. I don’t usually accept most generalizations about gender, as differences among individuals certainly outweigh gender-wide commonalities, but this idea struck me as something I seldom consider:

1. The Kindness of Word-Stretchers
Perhaps because it is associated with young women — or perhaps because it is playful — word elongation disarms. Thus, when asking a favor or making a demand, extra letters soften the blow. “I reeeally need that memo by 2 p.m., can you skip lunch?”

Not that I don’t sometimes want to seem disarming in my emails and messages, but it just has never occurred to me to do that by typing in a way that seems harmlessly juvenile. As I think this over, I guess I’d try to be disarming through the tone of my message, rather than through spelling. But perhaps 2 things: One, do women feel like they need to be disarming in tone more than men do? And two, perhaps I’m just socially awkward enough to type messages more bluntly than I need to.