Speak Your Mind: Don’t Call Me Babe
If you present yourself as female, it’s likely that some stranger has called you a pet name, like “sweetie” or “hon.” When it happens to me, it’s usually by a grandfatherly figure with no creepy overtones, but it’s still something I notice. When I was in middle school, I had a teacher who called everyone – everyone - “sweetie.” He did this all the time; it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the gender of the student. It made the male students visibly uncomfortable, more so than the girls. But if there isn’t an obvious sleaze factor, I don’t really notice.
Except for “babe.” I hate being called babe, and won’t stand for it from anybody. I think I may hate being called babe more than Jo Walkers from the UK who calmly explained to a local bus company that she didn’t really appreciate being called “babe” by the bus drivers. It evidently wasn’t presented as a formal complaint, but the bus company agreed with her that bus drivers probably shouldn’t be using that language to address customers. The usual poop-storm occurred, as it does whenever a women calmly expresses an opinion, and spawned a hashtag on Twitter.
Are pet names for women per se demeaning? Is this something you personally get riled up about? Do you consider it well-intentioned, or a subtle way of undermining women? Or does it depend on the situation?
Featured image credit: mira66