Sunday, August 9, 2015

Conversations with a real-live misogynist!

My fake neighbor who rents out his entire house on AirBnB stopped by this afternoon, and managed to piss me off within seconds:

White guy my age who is not from New Orleans: Hey, my baby!

Me: I'm not your baby.

Guy: That's not what I meant. I was just saying hey.

Me: Then just say "hey." Don't call me "baby."

Guy: I mean, it's not a big deal.

Me: It doesn't have to be.

Guy: Saying "Hey, my baby" isn't offensive.

Me: [Stares] What do you want, anyway?

Guy: Well, if you're going to be like that...

I've spoken with this particular individual before about calling me out of my name, and he never seems to learn. Not only is it falsely intimate and uncute, it's demeaning.

I'm a woman, and calling me "baby," "girl," or any variation of that diminishes the knowledge and life experiences that I have earned. Unless you're my friend or romantic partner, and we've consensually adopted certain expressions of affection, you don't really need to be calling me names at all.

Also, don't ever tell someone what is or isn't offensive. You don't know all the ways in which I experience disrespect in the world. Especially if I'm taking the time to be patient with you and explain my objections to your behavior, you should listen to and heed my boundaries. You're welcome for pointing out misogyny, which is a form of gender-based violence. Now go and unlearn it.

Besides, there are really only two people in the world allowed to choose my name, and they are my parents. They've been around since I was a wee one, and they changed all my diapers. They can call me whatever they want. But actually, they never call me "baby"; they just call me "Arielle." And you can too.

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