I find it very interesting that we don't even realize the implications of these names and labels. I always thought it was flattering or a nice gesture for someone to refer to me as "sweetheart" until I read these chapters and began to realize how demeaning they really are. The really funny part is that I call women "hon" or "sweetie" too. What am I doing to enforce this lower position?? I tried so hard to understand why I do it and obviously it's because it's been done to me. So it was a terrible realization I had to know that I was enforcing things. I guess the thing to do is when ever someone refers to you like that, simply state your name. I think that would be subtle enough to show that you don't want to be called pet names. Good luck!
Years ago I worked in a daycare and we had a dress up time where the toddlers could play with clothes brought in by different parents. One little boy, whose mom was single, kept putting on high heel shoes and dresses. Well his mom also happened to work there so when she saw him she came running in and told him not to do that. I felt so bad for the little boy and I wished the mom could see he was only copying the one role model he had. She asked us not to let him do that anymore. Fast forward 10 years later and I have 2 sons of my own (4 and 3). We were shoe shopping over the weekend and my youngest picked out a pair of pink crocs he wanted. My moment of truth- I wanted to let him get them sooooo bad- but I had to tell him no. His father and grandfather would have never let me hear the end of it. He would have been stared at in public and other parents would have asked me why. Why do we do this?? What harm could come of pink shoes?? I realized the power of society at that moment, and I would have much rather have been just a mom.