Is It Wrong to Call Someone "Babe"?

Bus drivers in Brighton and Hove, England, are finding out the answer the hard way: their bosses are forbidding them from referring to passengers as "babe," "love," or "darling" because of complaints.

But critics of the move argued that such terms were part of the region's linguistic heritage, and that people were simply employing traditional Geordie terms of endearments.

So when bus drivers, cabbies and shopkeepers the nation over use words like "luvvie", "darling" or "flower", they are being "affectionate, not patronising", says Tony Thorne, editor of the Dictionary of Contemporary Slang.

"It's only urban sophisticates - usually under the age of 40 - who choose to find them distasteful. It is the 'language hygienists' who choose to see them as discrimination," he says.

"It's folksy - part of a tradition in this country, a momentary affection between strangers. I know people who don't live in Britain any more and when they come back they say how much they like to hear terms of affection, such as the Essex 'babes'."

So, what do you think Neatoramanauts? Is it sexist to call someone "babe"? Link


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Maybe the bus driver is from Newcastle?
I call people love, sweetie, sweetheart, sweets, babe, babes, honey, hunny, love, lovey, pet, petal, dear and dearie all the time IRL and on Twitter and have had no complaints. It's being friendly not patronising x
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I have no issues with these terms of endearment whatsoever. Dear, sweetheart, love, babe....how on earth can these be perceived as offensive...unless you are just full of yourself.
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I think it's pretty easy to tell if something is said with malicious or patronizing intent; if it's said in a friendly manner, then it's just a term of endearment... however some people however seem to almost strain themselves in the effort to find things offensive.
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You have to take things in the spirit intended. My first job out of uni I was a receptionist at an ad company and everybody called me baby. It wasn't because they were leering old perverts, it was because at 21, I was the office baby and younger than everyone else there by a very wide margin.

Now if some builder yells "Hey baby!" when I walk by on the street, I will take a little offence, because they're obviously not doing it with the purest intentions.
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