I almost called this post ‘Say My Name Bitch’ or “Catcalling can Suck My Dick’ or ‘Fuck Right Off’ for reasons you will come to understand. The following is an excerpt of a frustrating conversation I had with a previous acquaintance that I soon after chose to remove from my life because of the continual disrespect and blatant misogyny present in our relationship.This confrontation is not an isolated event, it happens often and to all women, whether they recognize it as systematic oppression or not.
I am choosing to post this publicly to illustrate the kind of situations and conversations that women have to endure regularly with the men in our lives. Although I am typically more than happy to debate various topics, I do not enjoy having to explain continuously the validity of a person’s feelings when met with disrespect. It is a cultural sickness that a large majority of men/boys are raised to be like this when their ego is confronted.
This begins after the person in question hailed me online by referring to me by a demeaning pet name and I responded at first politely by asking him to use my given name instead, as a sign of respect. His reaction was less than desirable. This is the eventual result of some mind boggling back and forth I endured on the validity of me asking to be referred to by my given name. I kid you not. Here we go:
You asked for clarification so here is my attempt at illustrating why pet names and catcalling is demeaning to most women with healthy self-esteem. Now if we take a similar interaction as the example, this is how respectful discourse would proceed:
A: “Hello Sexypants McGee”
B:”Hi (name). I find objectifying pet names demeaning, please refer to me by name instead. J”
A:”I apologise. That was not my intention. Hey (name) How are you today?)”
But that is not what happened.
Instead I had to explain to you in detail why I was asking for more respect instead of it just being given and having to justify my feelings in the first place. When I expressed distaste over the language used and asked to be referred by name, you asked me what was wrong with the pet name used and said that it represented your interest in conversing with me when in actually all it showed is your attraction to me, which is objectifying. Showing me respect would be by referring to me by name and accepting my boundary about the use to demeaning pet names.
Instead you brought up your past experiences with all those other females that didn’t confront you about this issue for personal reasons, as if that then justified it. You even referred to the example that men don’t seem to mind being called dude (which has completely different meaning than using hun or sexy on a female btw) so women should not be offended either. This insinuates that my feelings are invalid because others unrelated to me haven’t reacted in the same way, so then I am not entitled to my feelings over similar treatment. And certainly if men are not offended, neither should women which ignores very strong differences in experiences with gender bias. You seem to feel that it is harmless and since no one else brought it up, I must be wrong (showing a lack of respect for my feelings and intelligence). You even used a reference towards a book to solidify the opinion that I shouldn’t be offended since you don’t think that you were being disrespectful, despite me pointing it out clearly.
You expressed that you didn’t feel that you used diminutive or offensive sexist language despite me pointing out that it was exactly that, but apparently my opinion doesn’t matter despite me expressing clearly that I find it offensive. You don’t find it offensive (you are not the target), so apparently it isn’t valid. Then you move on to say that sometimes using a person’s name is too formal….umm…what? Names are not formal, they are our names and we are entitled to be given the formal respect of a name just like men are. We are also entitled to full respect as people and not just as diminutives. Then you needed an explanation like this one as to why I am entitled to be referred by my given name. Do you see the idiocy of that yet?
The crux of the matter is, there is a difference between cat calling and giving an authentic compliment and you seem confused by the two so I suggest you look more closely into that. Pet names are not empowering nor respectful either unless mutually agreed by both parties. I expressed that it was disrespectful to me to refer to me anything other than my name because I expect to be treated like a person and not just a sex object or pet. I am a mature woman and have earned that right. The only appropriate response would to accept it and honor it. Instead you spent all that time mansplaining why I was wrong and telling me to not be offended because despite your actions, you claim to actually respect me.
Do you understand a bit now why maybe so many women do not confront men that call them by demeaning pet names? Not everyone has the energy to sit down and explain how they are being disrespectful without their intelligence and feelings being invalidated in the process and getting nowhere. In the end, many men simply choose to brush it off and say that these women are just being sensitive (rather than enforcing a healthy boundary) and dismissing them out of hand, so instead many just smile and nod and go on their way. It doesn’t mean that they don’t find it offensive, only that they don’t care to address this issue with someone who already disrespects them by using diminutive names in the first place.
But seriously, Fuck right off. My name is Kae. Use it.
*Has a similar conversation ever happened to you? How did you handle it? How do you wish you had handled it?**