Honey. Baby. Sweetie. Cutie. What do these four words have in common? They are all NOT my name, but lately I’ve noticed how many times complete strangers have called out to me, talked to me, referred to me, as the aforementioned words. And it’s not just me, either. I’ve heard plenty of people call their waitresses in restaurants and female shop workers “honey,” too. It used to be that dealing with cat calls from a construction site was a rite of passage for a young girl, but these days the passive aggressive sweet nothings are being called out a lot closer to home . . . by the pizza delivery guy, the over-friendly bus driver, a new co-worker, the list goes on and on and it’s pissing me off.
Out of the right mouth, “baby” and “honey” are terms of endearment. One of my best friends always sends me text’s that say “love ya sweetie” and my mom always calls me “honey,” but coming out of the mouth of a relative stranger these words take on a completely different meaning. They’re insults disguised as compliments, a vocabulary wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s infantilizing–I mean, you might call a five year old “honey,” but to anyone old enough to wear big-girl clothes, it’s degrading.
Naturally, this name calling is a phenomenon that only happens to females. Could you even imagine calling a guy you didn’t know “Babe” in casual conversation? Or referring to the man interviewing you for a job as “Cutie?” Nooooo!!! We would never do that, because it would be unprofessional and seen as insulting. So, why I ask is it okay for the opposite sex? It gives a false sense of intimacy to a total non-relationship. We are not friends, we are not a couple, you probably don’t even know my name, so I’m thinking cutie-honey-sweetie-baby is not an appropriate moniker.
Don’t call me baby (or any of those other names!)–even if you say it with the best of intentions. It’s demeaning and insulting even if you say it with a smile. As they say “You catch more bees with honey,” and this bee prefers to be called by her name!
Do you get mad when strangers call you “baby” or “honey”–or do you think it’s totally okay? Tell me all about it in the comments!