08.05.2017 // Not Your Babe But Thanks!
Don’t call me your babe. It’s sad, a lot of people would call me hostile or too sensitive, “it’s only a joke”, and it may be because that’s what we are all used to. We’re used to getting called sweetheart or babe, we’re used to getting catcalled or getting looked down upon. It’s not something that is intentional for the most part, just assumed that the guys at the bar are the more capable ones. It’s an internalized lesson that we all have, I call all my friends babe, but I never realized the derogatory effects such a simple phrase can carry until I started working in a bar.
Stereotypes are boring, they limit what we can know. Don’t just call a girl babe because she has boobs, there’s so much more than that. I get that it is endearing and it is something that you grew up with, but for me, I’m living in a world where I don’t have to play along with your “pretty little ass” jokes just to get tips. Because babe is innocent but it leads to that kind of joke if we don't realize the deeper meaning those innocent phrases can carry. It makes me feel like I am weaker or less competent when said to me by someone who spends the majority of their time talking to my male counterpart. My looks don’t define what I can or can’t do. The fact that I have boobs doesn't define whether or not I like sports (like come on people it’s 2017 do we really have to keep repeating that, watch she’s the man or something). People may say that I am being too sensitive but they aren’t there behind the bar daily while my male coworkers get that instant respect that comes with male bonding. They get a what's up brother while I get a thanks sweetheart. I don't need the label just the respect.
Most people are the bar are really good and respectful and I’m not saying that is a constant game of catcalling, but working behind a bar in a very privileged town has made me realise how much we need feminism even in our seemingly progressive world. Yesterday I was getting in my car after shift and a regular came up to me when I waved at him and said, “Me and my friend we’re just commenting on what a great ass you have before we realized it was you!” Like, thank you? When a customer handed me his phone and his friend said, “A bartender?! You sound like a blond, Swedish, bombshell!”, I’m Irish, but okay. Endless winks, darlings, sweethearts, babe come with the daily routine. Would you say that to your doctor? The male bartender? Didn’t think so, please don’t say it to me. I love my job, love where I work and the people I work with but could do without the stereotypical comments unless I know you, okay babe?