November 18, 2010
Don’t Call Me Ma’am
For decades, women have taken the reins at work, home and in their community to earn the respect they deserve. So, why does being called "ma'am" makes so many women cringe?
While some see it as polite, many others say it makes them feel old and even insulted. A recent New York Times article explores the alternate meanings of the term "ma'am" and how women react.
"Ma'am" comes from the term "Madam," usually used to politely address older women. Today it is widely used, regardless of age. In a recent poll by Survey Monkey, only two participants preferred the term "ma'am."
Senator Barbara Boxer has publicly stated that she dislikes the term and prefers to be called "Senator" instead. "It's just a thing. I worked hard to get that title, so I appreciate it," she said in a recent interview.
"Ma'am" is not the only term women find irritating. Being called "baby" or "sweetie" can annoy even the most composed professionals. If this bothers you, experts suggest simply encouraging contacts to call you by your proper name or title.
Bonus PINK Link: Check out one of our expert blogs on commanding courtesy and respect in the workplace.
By Muriel Vega
"To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, singular power of self-respect." Joan Didion