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Response to cyclonefence (Reply #5)

Sun May 13, 2018, 04:14 PM

9. It still depends.

I've been in formal settings where "honey" was used. Nobody batted an eye. Except those who were from a different culture.

Not sure that men calling women "honey" necessarily asserts "power." Some people define "power" to mean pretty much anything, and then when the broad range of uses is accepted flip it around and assert that "power" has a very narrow meaning; it's hard to catch that kind of definition-based fallacy, but it's as common as dirt. Sometimes it's condescension (which is distinct from power), sometimes it's trying to sweet talk them to get something out of them (pretty much the opposite of "power". Sometimes it really is an attempt to assert authority. But there are yet other uses.

Old Baltimore had "hon" as a generic term of friendliness. I've been called "hon" by men and women, white and black, but the speaker always had at least 20 years on me. Took me aback the first time I heard it, and my father (from that generation) explained it to me. Fell out of use, to a great extent, in my generation. Probably gone now.

Thing is, one reason that I remember it so well is that women who moved to Baltimore took great exception to the sexism implied by the word. Except nothing was implied; it was the inferring that was off, and it was hard for them to lose their preconceptions. But that's the kind of thing that spelled the usage's doom. When in Rome, give full expression to your inner Vandal, and if somebody objects point out that the Vandals were just migrants in search of a better life, and therefore both victims and somebody whose ethnonym has been horribly abused in a very offensive manner.

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