Don’t call me honey. Don’t call me dear. And fergawd’s sake, don’t excuse your behavior by saying, “I do that all the time and nobody else minds.” We do mind.
We were taught as young girls to be ‘nice’ and subservient to males. Always let them think they were smarter, faster, better than we were. Make sure our grades were not too high so they would know they were 'superior.' They were allowed to call us sweetie, honey, dear or what’s worse, girlie. Many of us think it’s just fine for men to talk that way. Most women think it’s cute. When we stop and think about it, do you really want to be thought of as a second class citizen, to be called any ‘endearment’ men can think of.
This is not just an ordinary action of those awful men who whistle at women who are walking by their construction sites or for that matter, just sitting on a bench in the park. Men think it is is their right; they even think that it’s called for and we expect it. They think it’s a compliment.
And when we become disabled, the comments worsen. We are called honey or dear by everyone, not just men. Somehow we become children again unable to care for ourselves. Women finally have somebody to be better than. So all of our lives we have had to live with catcalls and diminishing remarks from men of all ages, and now we have to hear it from women too.
I was visiting my dentist and we were talking about how we dealt with men who persisted in those habits. I told her that I always said to men, “Did we sleep together? Those are the only people who call me honey.” The dentist said she always says, “Are you aware of who I am?”
Love her response and may steal it from her. She may vary her answers as well.
Disability does not make these discriminating comments go away, it magnifies them and makes most of the population feel as if we need to be treated as if we are under the age of 12.