The Little Sexism's
The little “O.K. honey’s” and “Alrighty dear’s” that make me feel like I haven’t hit puberty yet.
That I should still be wearing a pink dress with bows and lace in my long blond hair — giggling and prancing about when you call me “darling girl.”
I resent these terms of endearment that are no longer endearing or ingratiating — but demeaning, objectifying, and minimizing.
I am not your pet, your cutie, your love. I am not a toddler hoping to procure a sweet through naive endurance.
I am your patient, your colleague, your friend’s daughter, your waitress, your potential hire, your customer.
All these little sexism’s make me want to flip over the surgical tray while your gloved hand is in my mouth — slam the door on your fingers as I’m getting out of the car — clench every muscle my body possesses as my rage flows out of me in tsunamis — scream until my lungs give out and my limbs take over — MAKE you listen to me.
Until I realize…I’ve become the child you were attempting to mold me into.
I cannot become a fury without risking the confirmation of this story.
Without further undermining what little power I had to begin with.
I bite my tongue, grind my teeth, swallow my pride, shut my mouth, stop my voice. Knowing that if I speak up, if I offer a revision or two, you will change your sickly sweet tune.
“O.K. Whatever you say sweetheart.”
“No need to be rude, I was just trying to help.”
Rude…Can a “darling” be rude? Or has she now transitioned to full on “brat”?
Why is he not your sweetheart, your darling, your dear, your love, your honey? Is he not sweet, too?
Your adorable “little” boy. Or, he once was. What changed? Why did he grow out of it and I didn’t?
Am I to be forever imprisoned in the social construct of a five year old? Who, even then, was taught to be quiet, be agreeable, and for heaven’s sake — “don’t be difficult!”
Why do I feel like these words are a false pretense for a more inappropriate form of endearment?
You can’t call me sexy or intriguing or teasing or delicious…no…that would definitely be inappropriate. Definitely.
Maybe the sweetness is a mask covering up how you really see me.
Or maybe it’s just a power play.
Maybe “sweetness” isn’t worth striving for at all.
Maybe it just serves as a reminder.
That I am not, after all, worth your respect.