A Minute to Myself (150)
A Minute to Myself (151)

The Symbolism of “Baby”

There are far too many love songs being written, recorded and played that call women “baby.” I fundamentally object to this. It is demeaning, even for a term of endearment. It is not sweet, it does not show or shower affection, it is a put-down. I know what a baby is; I’ve nursed, diapered, burped, and wiped two of them countless times. Babies are helpless; they need help with most tasks, except body functions. So what the heck does calling a grown woman “baby” have to do with her turning your love button on?

Now “babe” is an entirely different story. Call me babe and a bit of the mortar holding up my walls just may crumble. Babe, it’s cool, it’s hip, it’s risqué in a refined way. Babe. I can be a babe. No one would confuse a babe with a helpless infant in a onesie. A babe gets kissed on the neck right before the door is held open for her. A babe decides what movie to see and where to eat after... and even if that’s necessary.

Call me baby and you get a look, maybe even the look. I am not a baby. But if you intuit that I am a babe, my scorn meter might be turned off, at least temporarily.
Songs that refer to women as “baby” should be censored and banned from the air waves. Words matter, and if you call a woman a word that confines her and defines her as a different sort of eye candy, then it should not be used. Instead, try a word that tussles with and challenges perception.

“Baby come back” just isn’t going to happen, but, perhaps “You got me babe” will.



I really hate being called sweetie, hon, baby or any other of familiar terms that should be exchanged between intimates only. But, I make one exception - I work part time as a jail house nurse. There is an inmate; a young male, intelligent though stupid (he's been arrested twice). On his second round I expressed my disappointment at seeing him back AND in the disciplinary unit. What I told him was he was too smart to make this his life. He said,"But nobody tells me that stuff on the street." So I explained that HE had to believe and embrace his own worth, but if he needed help, just listen to my voice in his head when he had a choice to make."
He left the unit and it was a month before I was in the same part of the jail. First thing he said was, "I haven't forgotten, I'm going to straighten up." And then he turned to the guy next to him and said,"This is my baby nurse."
In street parlance being a "baby" anything is a respectful term used to convey the elevation of the person it is bestowed upon.
On the street it means that this is a special person and they are not to be messed with.
I'm hoping when he has paid his dues and returned to society that he WILL change the path of his life. And then I will feel vindicated in believing that sometimes we can make a big difference with small gestures.

Liz A.

Weird, we're the exact opposite. I hate babe. It reminds me of a gross older man trying to pick me up. I have put a stop to men calling me that. Baby is fine, though I'm not sure why. Maybe b/c it infers a man wanting to take care of you because you're his baby, though I know that would be demeaning to some women.

I do prefer other terms. My husband uses bella and sweetheart on regular occasions. I don't really mind any term by my husband. I know he loves me and considers me an equal, especially when I know he's kidding, like sugar fill in body part.

So, what it just a song that brought on this baby/babe distinction?


I've never really thought about this. I have been called "baby" and "babe" by former boyfriends but my husband does not.


What a difference a letter makes. I call my son and my nieces "sweetie," and my husband "honey." It kind of makes me sound like a grandma, which I'm not, but they're just terms of endearment. If he were to call me "baby" or "babe," I think I'd do a spit-take, it would be so unexpected.

Never got the "babe/baby" thing. In fact, when I was young it really puzzled me. Why would you call a grown-up a baby? Made no sense.


Beyonce's going to be very upset at this, ha! I think I get the whole 'babe/baby' thing, for the same reason we say to babies "I could just eat you up!' They're so delectable. It is rather odd isn't it? That said, my hubby calls me 'bebee' at times, a variation I much prefer, reminds me of the store.


I agree!!!

I also hate that on most online dating profiles, men continue to refer to us all as "the ladies"

"I'm and easy going laid back guy looking for some good times with the ladies"

Ugh! Nothing makes my skin crawl quite like that.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

rockync, my references to the term baby and yours are quite different, or maybe my interpretation of them. I hope that your inspiration will be enough to get him motivated to stay out of jail.

Liz, the gross older man I remember was playing with his you-know-what in his car and he just called me over for directions. Horrible how people can ruin a word for us.

My exhusband didn't do terms of endearment, maybe that was a sign. Now I want that, as a sign of affection and endearment.

No specific song. But if I hear "baby" being screeched or moaned in a song, I click to the next station.

Lori, mrex's first and only term of "endearment" for me was "hetzi tolaat." It sounds cuter in Hebrew, but the meaning, the meaning should have made me run: "half a worm." What was I thinking?

JC, I call my younger daughter sweetie. If I accidentally call my older daughter that, I get a look, as if I called her baby.

Luci, I think I can deal with Beyonce. Anything with a French accent gets a pass, just don't translate, go with the sentiment.

D'Arcy, some guys refer to women as "gals," as in "any of you gals want to hang out." Uh, no. Maybe that's a regional thing; it just doesn't translate into New Yorkese. Us, ladies, we'll catch you later, when you finish LOLing yourself.


Ah...another good one today Laura. As for me, I will take "baby" over "mami" anyday! When my boyfriend, who is puerto rican, first called me "mami," I almost vomited. I proceeded to nicely but firmly tell him, "please, please....I don't deal well with the "mami" thing... I am not your mommy. How about honey..or my name?" Of course he explained to me that in latin culture it is quite an endearment, but as a Long Island Jewish white girl..the term "mami"...just doesn't cut it! OY . We made a compromise and settled on "mamacita"....that is more tolerable.
Now that I think about it though, I guess it is better than my MR. EX's favorite term of endearment was for me. He was Israeli as well..and used to love to call me "ZONAH"...Isn't that lovely?

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Gwen, oh no! with the Hebrew nickname. Is it some twisted Israeli thing that saying something bad is conversely something good? Any way, mamicita is cute, definitely not the whole mommy thing. Men. Can't they just go for something sweet and not role-modely?


To be a babe is to be on the goddess level. that's my take.

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