Friday, February 2, 2018

Don't call me dear, and other general fuming

Today, I had a plumber come to look at a shower leak we've had going on at our house (it's an easy fix problem, phew!). He was really nice, and I'd definitely recommend his services, except that at the end, one thing bugged me. He handed me the invoice for his services and said "Ok, you're all set my dear!" 

Uh, what? We LITERALLY just met. And I'm a grown woman, not a little girl (though, I think if they're not your kid, it's a little presumptive to assume their parents are OK with you using that kind of intimate language). So, unless you're my Dad or my husband, you have no place to call me "your dear"

I'm giving this guy the benefit of the doubt that it was just a slip of the tongue and he didn't mean anything by it, but it's part of a systemic issue that women are "dear" and "sweetie" well past childhood while most guys loose similar terms, like "buddy" after teenage years.

Another story from this week - a former project manager of mine (it was a short-term task that's over now) has recently been featured in an APL wall mural. I congratulated her on it yesterday, and she said "oh yeah, my friends have asked how I got highlighted on that, with the APL founder and other old guys, and I said, you know what, they probably thought old white man, old white man, we need a woman between them, a woman who's maybe an ethnic minority, so they picked me".

She was downplaying it, which was probably some imposter syndrome, but also, she had a point - the mural IS focused on balanced race and gender. Which is fine, but if we're going to represent it on our walls, let's represent it in our halls too! Let's make sure our wall mural represents the reality of our hiring. I love where I work, and I think there are a lot of efforts to promote diversity of thought and diverse teams at APL, but now, the mural bothers me, rather than inspires me, because I feel like it was forcibly designed for graphic appeal, instead of dwelling on the awesomeness of my former manager.

Anyways. both those things were kind of bugging me so I thought I'd come and share my frustrations on my blog a bit. thanks for listening, folks!


Emily Brown said...

Sorry about the weird font, guys. I can't figure out how to fix it.

Abigail said...

Similar issues with people being called "dear" or "sweetie" come up in nursing, especially with elderly patients. We talked about that in my geriatrics class, to try to always refer to patients by "Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so" instead of using other terms.