So the other day, I opened up a can of worms that I didn’t even realize I had on the dusty garage shelf of my mind. I mentioned on The Facebook- I know, Facebook fights, but I promise I won’t make a habit of Facebook mud-slinging and this post is no exception. So I mentioned that someone at my work had called me sweetheart and that it seemed, and I quote, “like [he was] just ASKING to be cavity searched. And not in the good way.” Immediately, a male friend responded to say that he calls every woman “darling.” I told him that was as bad as “little lady” and a mtf transgender said that she would burst out laughing if someone called her “little lady.”
I’m a pretty laid-back, bubbly person. It takes a lot to offend me. What offends me in even small doses, though, is people assuming that I’m worth less than they are. I see that a lot in my job. Being a security guard means being the person everyone can shit on. I’m an idiot and a rent-a-cop, but I’m the one trusted to stop people’s family and friends and check to see if they’re on a list, then hold them up to give them a pass if they are and call the resident if they aren’t. The residents don’t understand why I’m calling for their mom or their bff when it’s SO obvious I should just let that person in. The guests don’t understand why I have to give them a pass and check it every time they come in. All-around, people feel like my job is a waste of time. Of course I agree, and you bet your ass I’d never move into a gated community, but as long as someone is paranoid enough to want someone outside their house shaking down their friends and family, I get a pretty sweet, steady paycheck. The problem lies in the fact that everyone feels like their time is worth more than mine. If I were a man, this would result in shouting and name-calling. It still does occasionally, but I generally get the Sweetheart Treatment. “Oh hi, sweetie!” *Wave and smile while rolling up window and driving toward the closed gate without slowing down. Realize the gate is closed, slam on breaks, look back at me and point at the gate angrily.*
I understand that I am a woman, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a job to do and, while it’s not much to brag about, I am damn good at my job. People may not see the harm in calling a woman in uniform “sweetie” or “darling,” and if you’re past middle age, I can forgive you for treating the younger world like they’re all your grandchildren, but if you’re middle-aged or younger, you can shove your demeaning “sweetheart”s up your ass. You don’t call a black man “boy” or “negro” because it says, “You are less of a person than I am.” Just because women might not kick your ass for being sexist or racist doesn’t make it okay. And I’m not stupid, no matter how many rich ass holes assume I am. I can tell the difference between “You have a great day, sweetie!” and “It’s been precious talking to you, but I’ve got important male things to attend to so open the damn gate, sweetheart.” I understand that there are differences in tone and inflection and underlying meaning, and I respond differently to differences in each. When it all comes down to it, I probably would have seethed about it for a few minutes and then let it go if I hadn’t gotten what were essentially two male point-of-view responses telling me I was being an over-emotional woman about it. No, I’m not. I’m being a human being about being treated like a lesser person.
As an epilogue to this post, I would like to note that I’m not using my blog to blast my friends, whom I love and had talked to at length about this when it happened. It’s mostly that I don’t get angry very often and when I do, it helps me to explore why certain things make me mad when most other things don’t. Thoughts?