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Heffers and heifers

February 8, 2013

I see that leading intellectual Katie Price, in her Sun column, has just called a model named Kelly Brook a ‘heffer’ (sic), meaning that she’s overweight. Two things to note about this: first, the ignorant mis-spelling of heifer. As any fule kno, a heifer is a young cow. Katie Price perhaps thinks the term is an abbreviation for ‘heffalump’. And so, it seems, do the sub-editors at the Sun.

The second point is the ugly mean-spiritedness of the word. As it happens, I hadn’t heard it used in this sense until a few days ago, when I was talking to a (grown-up) niece about why women were under so much pressure to be thin. ‘If a boy at school goes at with a girl who’s even slightly overweight,’ she said, ‘he’ll get laughed at for being with a heifer.’

There is something deeply depressing about all this. The innocent farmyard word heifer has been turned into a weapon to terrorise women into striving for an unnatural body-shape (as exemplified by Price herself). The problem isn’t that there are too many heifers around, but too many bloody ignorant apes. 

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One Comment
  1. But wait – what is a heffalump?

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