The Guardian had an article out this week about how life as a woman in a world built and designed for men can often range from frustrating to dangerous:
These silences, these gaps, have consequences. They impact on women’s lives, every day. The impact can be relatively minor – struggling to reach a top shelf set at a male height norm, for example. Irritating, certainly. But not life-threatening. Not like crashing in a car whose safety tests don’t account for women’s measurements. Not like dying from a stab wound because your police body armour doesn’t fit you properly. For these women, the consequences of living in a world built around male data can be deadly.
The gender data gap is both a cause and a consequence of the type of unthinking that conceives of humanity as almost exclusively male.
We petites know all too well the frustrations of living in a world not designed for us. Being significantly smaller than not only the average man, but the average woman as well, has its challenges. Clothes don’t fit; “unisex” items are never an option; safety testing never takes bodies like ours into account. And so on. And while exceptionally tall or large men certainly have challenges too, at least theirs is the default gender, so things designed for the 50th percentile male will be closer to their size than to ours.
If you’ve never thought about such things, it’s probably because the world is designed for you… and you’ve never had to. The Guardian article makes clear what we petite women have known for a long time: Trying to adapt to a world not meant for people our size can really, really suck.