Dunham revealed in a Women of the Hour podcast preview, “I get called names as women on set and off that aren’t that fun.”
Both Dunham and Stone revealed that they have been referred to in the workplace as “sweetheart,” “baby,” “honey” and “straight-up babe,” and they want people to rethink using these terms.
Stone explained, “I mean, I guess the best-case scenario is that people call you by a nickname of your name that you’re comfortable with. Like, anyone can call me ‘Em.’ That feels great. It feels personal and lovely, and you don’t have to say ‘sweetheart.’ You can just say ‘Em.'”
“When in doubt, don’t say ‘sweetheart,’ Dunham agreed, adding that she’s worried male listeners might argue that pet names like that “don’t mean anything” when used in a professional environment.
“Just say my name,” Stone said.
On a more humorous note, the ladies did discuss some appropriate alternatives to demeaning nicknames.
Stone had probably the best example story to demonstrate the power of a good nickname. “I just finished a movie and [a security guard] said, ‘Let me help you out, ma’am.’ Like helping me out of a van, which, you know, was lovely. And I said, ‘Please don’t call me ma’am.’ And he said, ‘OK, what would you like me to call you?’ And I said, ‘Dragon. And I’ll call you Nighthawk.’ Which is from Stepbrothers. So for the whole movie, he called me Dragon. Which, you call someone Dragon — that’s a hell of a name.”
And Dunham agreed. “That’s so good!”
“I called him Nighthawk the whole time,” Stone added. “It was great!”
“I love nicknames,” Stone went on to explain. “You have a little personal relationship to the person. There’s a little backstory.”
But vapid and demeaning throw-outs like “babe” and “honey” have got to go.