I attended a meeting recently where a male authority figure in my denomination called me “sweetie” when I approached him and extended my hand for a handshake. In fact, this happens quite often. Here is what happens when you call a young clergy woman “sweetie” or “kiddo.”
-We feel that you don’t take us seriously.
-We feel that you don’t respect our calling into ministry as a capable, educated, and motivated woman who is working hard for the church and the kingdom.
-We feel belittled….and demeaned…and small….and a little violated….
-We don’t feel that you see us as equal with the men in our field. Would you call them “sweetie” or “kiddo”?
-We feel that you only see us as that: “sweetie.” Here is some news- I am not your “sweetie.” I am your colleague in ministry. I guess I could say that I am my husband’s “sweetie,” and that’s even pushing it!
-We feel that you don’t know our name- we are just another female face to you.
-We feel that you are still operating under the idea that women are not equal colleagues in the church or workplace, but that we are still second class citizens whose only job is to be “sweetie.”
So here is some friendly advice for men in any workplace setting:
-Don’t call women “sweetie” or “kiddo” or anything remotely similar to these- these titles are not cute or endearing- they are demeaning.
-We have names- USE them! In fact, refrain from any use of a nick name unless you are very close with the person and you have that kind of relationship.
-Yes, we might be the age of your daughter or even your grand daughter, but don’t confuse us with a member of your family. We are your work colleague. We want to work with you and deserve the same respect in return that we have for you.
-Think before you speak. Each person deserves to be treated with utmost respect, regardless of their gender. Choose words wisely.
I’m tired of being called “sweetie” and “kiddo.” I am neither of those things. I am a 31 year old woman, a wife, a pastor, a child of God, a daughter, a friend, a sister. I have a name. I have a story. I have an education. I have a calling.
Please don’t cheapen that by calling me “sweetie.”