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Holly

Lawyer2 writes,

"The absolute worst, though, has to be this old fart of a client who repeatedly has conversations with me over the phone regarding legal issues and then interjects in the middle "are you sure you're an attorney, hon?" No, I'm just a phone sex operator who talks about estoppel and punitive damages FOR FUN. Dumbass.
Errr."

OH MY GOD. That's inexcusable, and makes me feel my own complaint about being called something inappropriate isn't quite so bad. Nonetheless, I'm going to share it here:

I really get annoyed when my undergraduate students call me "Mrs. W___." I refer to myself on my syllabi as "Dr. W____," in email by my initials, and in conversation by my first name. And when students call me Mrs. W____, I say, "I am not married to anyone named Mr. W____, so it is inappropriate to call me Mrs. W____. You can call me Professor W_____, Dr. W________ or even Ms. W_____ if you don't like acknowledging my position and my educational status, but don't bring up something that addresses my marital status when it is not the least bit relevant."

And my preference for being addressed by the title appropriate to a college professor and the holder of a PhD resulted in this lovely comment on course evaluations: "Who made this bitch a doctor?"

Which, of course, mostly made me jealous that someone else had already grabbed the blog name "Bitch PhD."

Personally I am convinced there are a group of people who think you can't be a female PhD without being a bitch.

Ann

Lawyer2, I know a lot of youngish female attorneys and they ALL have at least one story about that question. One friend of mine was subjected to a rather long and degrading interrogation by a prison guard who wouldn't let her in to see her client. Because, of course, since women can't be attorneys, there was only one reason she COULD have been there.

Dr.Sue

I hate the term "girl" for a grown woman, too, but I hate even more "old woman" or "old lady" for a male who is seen as being insufficiently aggressive ("Stop acting like an old lady, Steve, 90 isn't that fast!"). An Irish (male) friend referred to a male teacher as "a bit Nellyish" and it was hard for him to see what was offensive about the term.

Agree with Will about "retarded." "Spaz" goes in that category, as well.

OTOH, I taught my son to refer to all women as "ladies," because when I was growing up we were only allowed to call certain upper-class white women "ladies." (Their maids were "colored women.")

kate.d.

ditto on the panties thing. so annoying.

the "girl" discussion is a really interesting one - it was thrown around on hugo's back a few months back. i remember some southerners saying that they use "gal" as the equivalent of "guy," but that doesn't really wash anywhere i've ever lived (the northeast and chicago). i would really love for there to be a universally used term that's equivalent to "guy" (in between "boy" and "man", roughly). unfortunately, i'm not surprised that there isn't one.

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