Like a mistake, like a lie.

Someone wrote…

Being called “sir” feels like a mistake, being called “ma’am” feels like a lie.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on June 19th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 15 comments »

15 Responses to “Like a mistake, like a lie.”

  1. Ophelia

    In the reverse, but wishing the mistake weren’t.


  2. Cat

    Urgh. Who needs titles anyway? I wish we could all thumb our noses at outmoded social customs and just call everyone by hir first name.


  3. Anonymous

    Exactly! I feel guilty, because I get called “Sir” (mistakenly) way more than some of my transboi friends who are genuinely thrilled when strangers address them with that title. Don’t know how to feel about passing involuntarily. Just cause I look butch doesn’t mean I don’t have my own complicated version of womanhood going on beneath the surface. It’s not something I personally want to move away from.


  4. J

    I can totally relate.


  5. Tamar

    how do you feel about captain?


  6. kiran

    i feel in a simular way. Hopefuly i’ll become a proffesor one day. And people will call me prof. Kiran. That’ll be totally awesome


  7. Sarah-Sophia

    Ugh, sadly I can relate. :/
    I’m not sure if I want people to address me as he or she…
    Ze and the others aren’t my thing….


  8. finnegan

    Haha, captain would be great! :)


  9. finnegan


  10. shadowcat

    i used to hate being called sir. now that i have become self-aware, i cringe when people call me ma’am/use female pronouns and when my parents refer to me as their daughter. i don’t like the made up pronouns either. i vote for just referring to people by their names.


  11. jessez

    yeah, i feel the same way… i am a more masculine-looking woman and when people call me “ma’am” or refer to me as a “lady” i feel unseen, but when people call me “sir” it feels like a mistake. the gender neutral pronouns, along with seeming like an unnecessary (for me) struggle, don’t work because i’m not genderqueer–i’m female. it’s weird when everything seems wrong; maybe the key is just to stop taking it so personally.


  12. Jessica

    I always hated being called “Missy” or “Little Lady” because I felt those were terms that belittled me. It’s like a black man being called “boy.”

    @Tamar – military forms of address only get weird when they get muddied by gender, like “Aye-aye Commander, sir, err uh ma’am.” It turns a mark of respect into a term of appeasement.

    It wouldn’t be bad to be a Duke or Duchess – both of whom are referred to as “Your Grace” as in “Is the bath to your liking, Your Grace?” or “Would Your Grace prefer the number 2 or number 3 shot for the shooting today?”


  13. Naomi

    I, for one, do like gender-neutral pronouns. But otherwise, I echo the sentiments about “sir” feeling like a mistake and “ma’am” feeling like a lie. It does make me feel good to be mistaken for a guy, but I can’t expect it to happen all the time, and I don’t know if I would want it to. It’s only happened once, though.


  14. Corvus

    I get ya, but I think I dislike Ma’am more than Sir. What I usually get though is “Sir, oh uh sorry ma’am or uh um sorry.” And I usually just smile and say “It doesn’t matter.” Especially if they have kids with them.


  15. Meike

    I definitely feel the same way whenever I’m addressed as “Sir” or “Ma’am”. My girlfriend, after I explained my feelings to her, started using “Commandant” (or “comandante”?). I love it!!! :)


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