Too Much by Sarah Moon

I don’t remember how Sarah and I got to be friends, but it probably had something to do with Zelda. My kids don’t generally pay much attention to my blog, but they were all pretty stoked to see one of my guests holding a cute little Toon Link. Anyway, I so appreciate Sarah’s voice on so many difficult topics. She is a lovely writer and is in no way too much for this blog!

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I still remember the day I overheard two boys in my junior high class discussing the oh-so-important topic of The Legend of Zelda.

'Deku Link' photo (c) 2012, Mitch Hell - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Majora’s Mask is impossible to beat! I couldn’t even get past Snowhead Temple!”

I, of course, had to jump into that conversation and brag about how I’d beaten the entire game, AND collected all the masks. The boy’s response to this was to look at me funny and say, “You’re so weird, Sarah Moon.”

A friend pulled me aside and explained to me, “Boys don’t like it when girls are better than them at video games. Don’t brag so much.”

Later, this same friend would give me the additional advice, “You can be smart. Just don’t act smart. That’s why you don’t have a boyfriend. You intimidate boys.”

It was from this (well-intentioned, but less than helpful) friend that I learned that society is uncomfortable when women are too much.

On one hand, we women have Time Magazine asking if we’re “mom enough,” and poor interpretations of Proverbs 31 holding us to unachievable standards. On one hand we must constantly struggle to be enough.

But, if in our struggles to be enough, we manage to excel, society has another way of keeping women in their place—by telling us we’re too much. Society speaks to us through the P.A. systems of the church and the media and says, “Please step away from the glass ceiling!”

When our churches tell us to know the scripture and to learn more about God, but call us “emasculating” when we use that knowledge in the church…

When our movies show us the successful career woman who “does it all,” but portrays her as unfulfilled until she leaves her job to settle down with a man…

When t-shirts and television characters and Barbie dolls tell girls that “math is hard,” so they should concentrate on being pretty…

When outspoken female politicians and public figures are degraded and insulted, accused of nagging or being “bitches…”

The message is clear. Don’t be too much.

Even today, I catch myself apologizing when I “outsmart” someone, or when I have a strong opinion about something. I know I shouldn’t apologize for being too much, but society is constantly telling me otherwise.

I wish society would just let women be humans.

Sometimes we are weak and sometimes make mistakes.  That should be okay.

But sometimes we will excel and be strong and will shatter glass ceilings. That should be okay too.

We shouldn’t have to be afraid of being too much.

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Sarah Moon is a Christian, a feminist, a nerd, and a student at Oakland University working toward a degree in Women’s Studies. In her spare time she enjoys video games, nerdy board game conventions, coming up with feminist analyses of Doctor Who episodes, and blogging at SarahOvertheMoon.com.

  • http://www.JanetOberholtzer.com Janet Oberholtzer

    Beautiful piece! 
    I thought get annoyed at the invisible line of being and doing the best I can… and the too much line.

    And I also wish ”society would just let women be humans.”

    So thanks for this piece, because while we might not be the-powers-that-be… we are part of society, so hopefully one by one, we can help change this mindset.

  • http://danileekelley.wordpress.com/ Dani Kelley

    I’ve been struggling with this a LOT lately. The tension between being told both that I am not enough and that I am too much. I’m not as pretty or thin or soft-spoken or whatever as I should be, while being too opinionated and honest and deep. Middle ground doesn’t exist, and it’s frustrating.

  • Josie Bisett

    Lovely post Sarah,
    I’ve always found this a fascinating issue, I’m a SAHM now – and yes I’m more satisfied than I was in my high-powered previous career, perhaps this is partly because I can relax and be myself (whoever that really is) now that I’m in a more acceptable role – acceptable to society I mean.. and perhaps my parents also. I also quite simply just love being a Mum – perhaps Motherhood is the only forum where it’s OK to be too much (that AND in the bedroom of course:)I used to man the oil-rigs (literally), a young female has no business being in that world – apparently – and yet I was good at it! It was exhausting, and I found that not only did I have to worry about the job at hand – like the men. But I had extra duties, I also had to play a role…..A successful female is watched more closely, and our success is balanced somewhat on how much we are liked as a person. It’s impossible to shake that side of the game. For a man to achieve the same success his personality is somewhat irrelevant.The game would often swing in my favor – so I didn’t complain. But my face would ache from smiling, and I often felt like a host having to shine at a party, instead of an engineer in a meeting. It was OK to be ‘too much’ as long as I stayed humble with it and kept up with the pretense that my male colleagues and bosses were that little bit more….  

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