Every day, one hear’s of new instances of sexual offences against women. Sometimes these are in the form of molestation, rapes and eve-teasing. And sometimes, it reflects in the way people communicate with women. People take it for granted that women can be spoken to in a condescending way, which reflects their patriarchal mindsets. Consider what happened recently to a woman travelling by Virgin Trains in the UK. The British woman was annoyed with the way the manager responded to her complaint by calling her ‘honey’. She later took to Twitter to share this incident, and Virgin Trains’ response left her “stunned”. The company passed a sexist remark in response to her tweet and said should they call her a ‘pet’ or ‘love’ next time. This enraged not just the woman, but several other netizens, who strongly criticised the company. Later, Virgin Trains posted an apology.
It all started when the woman, Emily Lucinda Cole, was travelling by Virgin Trains in the UK. She states that an elderly train manager dismissed her complaint with the “hideously patronising word, honey”. She decided to raise this issue on Twitter and also tagged Virgin Trains in the tweet. To her surprise, instead of acknowledging their mistake, the company mocked her complaint with a sexist remark. “Sorry for the mess up Emily, would you prefer “pet” or “love” next time? ^MS”, read the response by Virgin Trains.
Enraged, Emily took a screenshot of the tweet and wrote, Wonderful to see that @virgin_trainsEC take complaints of rude and misogynistic behaviour seriously. Stunned.” Virgin Trains later deleted the tweet, but by then, several netizens had taken note of this exchange and began criticising the company.
Check out Emily’s tweet here:
A screenshot of Virgin Train’s sexist remark:
Here is how the Twitterati responded:
After receiving a lot of flak for its insensitive and sexist remarks, Virgin Trains tendered an apology to the woman. Their tweet said, “We apologise unreservedly for this tweet and any offence that it may have caused. To avoid causing more offence we have deleted the original post.”
While sexist remarks and patriarchal mindsets will take some time to change, it is great to see that women are longer afraid of calling out the offenders. In 2017, #MeToo campaign had become a global phenomenon, where millions of women came forward to share their experiences of facing sexual harassment. Such movements not only encourage more women to speak up, but also help us understand the magnitude of the problem of sexual harassment.