UNC Editorial Says Not to Use Friendly Terms Like ‘Honey’ or ‘Hon’
“implied imbalance of power”
The woman at my local Dunkin’ Donuts calls me honey every day as she hands me my coffee. Should I be offended?
The Washington Examiner reports:
College editorial board takes feminism to new heights condemning pet names ‘honey’ and ‘hon’
While many individuals, especially those who grew up in the American South, have historically used the words “hon” or “honey” as a polite term of endearment in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are taking issue with the practice.
According to a recent editorial in the Daily Tar Heel, UNC’s official student school newspaper, calling someone “honey” makes the individual who is being addressed “feel inferior from the implied imbalance of power, especially if she is a woman.”
The editorial, written by the student paper’s editorial board, also claims “such behavior should not be accepted, as it promotes the automatic dismissal of someone’s worth.” According to the editorial board, “Using this type of sexist language in the simplest of situations, such as a party, is still just as damaging as in the workplace or the classroom.”
On the whole, the argument is patently absurd, especially coming from a school in North Carolina. Anyone, male or female, who has walked into a small town diner or restaurant in the American South, has likely been greeted with a phrase along the lines of “I’ll be with you in a moment, hon,” or a “May I start you off with some coffee, sweetie?” on at least one occasion.
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What about Atilla the Hon?
“calling someone “honey” makes the individual who is being addressed “feel inferior from the implied imbalance of power”
This was not written because it makes sense to anyone but because the writer wanted to hook SOMETHING to feminism and “power imbalances” and this was just something that came to mind. And the writer failed to actually think it through because there was no need. A certain slice of the population will always accept anything along these lines, no matter how insane it really is.
At the risk of some down votes, I will note that I grew up in NC and don’t call strangers these terms of endearment nor do I care to be called them by strangers. It has nothing to do with the sex of the person using the term; to me, it just presumes an intimacy that isn’t there. Heck, my husband doesn’t call me “sweetie”!
I’m a man so my viewpoint is different. I actually like getting the occasional “hon” or “sugar” from a waitress at some old diner I might go into.
The one thing I AM choose-y about is when nurses, or doctors, or those where I am conducting business will, right off the bat, become overly familiar.
Example. Say that my name is Daniel Fresnick, which it isn’t. In these situations, I am Mr. Fresnick thank you very much. I am not “Dan”, nor am I “Danny” (shudder!).
I guess – being of 1949 vintage – I’m a bit formal. Among my friends I am my name, or my nickname.
I used to have a copy of an article (possibly from Reader’s Digest?) titled, “Call Me Mister,” which lamented the current trend of jumping to using a person’s first name without 1) asking what the person wants to be called or 2) getting permission to call him or her a certain name.
I hate it when the bank teller (yes, I go to the bank sometimes) calls me by my first name. Not only because we are not on a first name basis, but because the teller usually mispronounces my name (thanks, mom!), which only emphasizes that we have no relationship other than a business one.
“The one thing I AM choose-y about is when nurses, or doctors, or those where I am conducting business will, right off the bat, become overly familiar.”
When a doctor calls me by my first name, I immediately call him by his first name, without any honorific. He wants to be on a first name basis, it works both ways.
This. It’s not about a “power imbalance”, it’s the presumption of unearned familiarity.
That said, Cleetus is right that it’s very much a regional culture thing, and a little compromise on both sides wouldn’t go amiss.
In the military, you address everyone with “Sir”. In the South, especially where I live, you address everyone with Hon, Darling, or Sweetie. It’s the culture of the South and I for one resent a bunch of emotional prudes who are demanding to find insults in everything condemning the culture within which I live. IF they cannot accept me and my culture, then I refuse to accept them and theirs.
One of the many reasons I like living in the South is the interesting blend of manners along with informality. Despite my accent (think radio announcer 1955), and my appearance (ibig build, big, but neat, beard), I am accepted everywhere, and am treated with respect and kindness.
Waitresses at a diner, coffee shop or truck stop have an inherent right to call me hon, darlin’, sugar or sweetie. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It means I am home, welcome.
No “inbalance of power”, no patronizing, none o’ that shit. Just “welcome.”