Now, I put up with two men using pet names with me: my director and my boyfriend (who thankfully doesn’t even really use them). With my director, of course, it’s a different generation, different customs, etc., but that’s not why. I don’t like it when other older men call me “sweetie”- it’s because I know that my director respects me as a person and an actor, and is not being dismissive or condescending in the use of pet names.
Anyway. if you are a man who does not fit into one of the above categories, chances are I’m not big on you using pet names with me. Things like sweetie, honey, beautiful, dear, darling, all the shit like that. You know why? Because pet names are condescending, derogatory, and at the heart of the matter an expression of your real view of women- that we are not in any way your equals.
Can we first address the fact that they’re called pet names? You’re referring to the women in your life like an animal you have control over, or even own. Does that sound respectful to you?
You know who also gets called pet names? Small children, specifically little girls, by their parents and other adults. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that the majority of adults when talking to little kids do not consider them equals, especially intellectually. So what you’re saying when you refer to a girl with a pet name is that you essentially consider her a small child or a pet animal.
And I, like most girls, don’t like to be considered a small child or a pet animal!
Not to mention that usually men’s voices are dripping with sarcasm or condescension when they say things like “thanks, hun” or “excuse me, beautiful.” We HEAR the disrespect in your voice!
Pet names have long been a good way to shut women up. You know, “simmer down, little lady”? Yeah, fuck that shit. Pet names invalidate our thoughts, opinions, arguments, anger- basically, you get scared when you see women being assertive and emotionally and cognitively functioning beings and decide you can douse the fire with a quick, “okay, sweetie.” Man, I am so fucking sick of my anger being invalidated. I get angry a lot and you not respecting my anger makes me more fucking angry. I could go on and on and on for ages about that but it’s not exactly the topic I’m discussing, but suffice to say that GIRLS GET ANGRY TOO and it does not mean we are menstruating and even if we were menstruating it still means we are fucking angry about something and our anger is real and you should pay attention to it before we kill you with frozen legs of lamb.
And you know what really gets me? Not only are men able to blatantly disrespect us like this, but they disguise it as fucking COMPLIMENTARY. Excuse me, no, not only do I not fucking need you to call me “beautiful,” not only should you STOP REDUCING WOMEN TO THEIR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE (please let me be correct in adding obviously), but NO, I AM NOT GOING TO BE FLATTERED WHEN YOU SAY SHIT LIKE THAT TO ME. YOU ARE DISRESPECTING ME, SO YOU CAN TAKE YOUR “BEAUTIFUL” AND SHOVE IT THE FUCK UP YOUR ASS. Get all huffy in response to one of these and it’s “jeez, learn to take a compliment, you frigid bitch.”
I will certainly learn to take a compliment when one is presented to me in a respectful manner. This is not such an opportunity.
Also, like so many other things, there isn’t a male equivalent. It just doesn’t have the same effect.
In conclusion, if you are a male whose daily speech habits have unfortunately grown to include the frequent usage of pet names, I do not want to hear your defense. I don’t want to hear about how you don’t mean it like that and you respect women. PLEASE just use this post as a learning opportunity, try your best to eliminate pet names from your vocabulary, and do us all a favor. The women in your life will appreciate you treating them with respect, I’m sure.
I’m sick of it. I’m not a dog, I’m not a little girl, I am a real person like you with real, valid thoughts and opinions and feelings and I do not appreciate you talking down to me and I will not put up with it. Thank you.
Shut the fuck up and get over yourself.
Pet names aren’t always sarcastic. And they’re not only used for women. So I mean, unbunch your panties. Because it’s not just you that gets called “sweetie” or “honey” or anything like that. Okay? Okay.
‘Kay babydoll, sorry to hear my anger got you so angry too, sweetie. Deep breaths. Oh, I know it’s not just me, honey, that’s the point, although this post was in response to things that have been happening in my life recently, so yeah, I apologize for getting offended that a boy my age that I am not close with kept referring to me with pet names in a manner that came across as very demeaning and then finally wrote about it to get rid and make sense of my rage. It’s what I do, darling. They are largely and typically used with women, are you okay with that, honeybunches? I don’t think it can be denied that men will use pet names to belittle women, and while it may not be quite as prevalent as it used to be, it’s still an issue, and it makes me mad. And no matter gender, dear, I hope we can all agree they are usually used in contexts where the person saying them either has some sort of authority or is trying to establish some authority over the person they are saying them to (except in cases of affectionate name-calling, such as with close friends and significant others, which this post is not referring to). Does that all sit any easier with you, sweetcheeks?
Read that response and tell me you feel respected as fuck.
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