“Don’t Call Me a Baby Mama!” What’s Really In A Name?
As you all know from my first “Where Are They Now” articles, I was a fan of what I like to call “VH1’s Golden Age of Reality Television.” Not only did I watch (and own) all the seasons of Flavor of Love, I Love New York, For the Love of Ray J and I Love Money, I was also a fan of Rock of Love. But one of the things that always struck me as odd were the high number of strippers on the show; however, when confronted, they would say, “I’m a dancer.” Unlike my confusion of what an exotic dancer was when I was younger, I couldn’t understand why the women would insist on the word “dancer,” and get offended if someone called them a stripper. I mean, if you take your clothes off for money then you’re a stripper, right?
It wasn’t until a little while ago when my ex-husband called while he was around his family and I heard someone yell, “Who you talking to,” and he responded with “My baby mama.” I was so insulted! He came back to the phone, we finished the conversation (with some definite ice on my end) and then hung up. With the same look that Regina King had on Poetic Justice after Joe Torry punched her (mouth agape and slowly shaking her head from side to side), I grabbed my phone to call one of my best friends to tell her what happened. In the middle of hitting my speed dial, I stopped. I mean, what did he really do that was wrong? He didn’t openly disrespect me. He didn’t call me the slang version of a female dog. He just called me his “baby mama.” But why was I so offended by it?
I started thinking about how politically correct our society has gotten. In a restaurant, you’re not supposed to call the person who takes your order a waiter anymore, they’re your server. The people who help you to your seat on an airplane and tell you what to do in an emergency are no longer stewardesses, they’re flight attendants. When you call an office, the person who answers the phone and take messages are no longer secretaries, they’re administrative assistants. Why the change? Because the former titles had a slightly negative connotation to them. You see this happen all the time in society.
I started realizing that the reason why I was so taken aback is because the term “Baby Mama” (besides the fact that it is grammatically incorrect – it should be baby’s mama, but whatever) has such a negative connotation to me. My mind immediately went to those girls who have their baby on their hip, parking lot pimping at the local gas station during the day and collecting a child support check or a “crazy check”/disability check in lieu of working. Their babies are crying because they want to be home and the hair is sticking up on the toddlers’ heads while their mother continues to talk (with her luxurious new weave) to her girlfriends and check out the dudes who were also parking lot pimping in the middle of the day.
That phrase just seemed to remove all of the positive things I’ve done in my life. It doesn’t address the fact that we were actually married at one time, and I’m a working college graduate. Though descriptive in its basic form (yes, I am the mother to his child), it’s still offensive to me. Not wanting to create a fuss by telling him not to call me that anymore (because then that’ll be “Baby Mama Drama”), I just left it alone. But I will say this: instead of wondering, “what’s the big deal,” if someone is insistent on being called a title, I’ll abide now. Dancers, servers, administrative assistants, I feel you now. I really do.
You can call Kendra Koger a bunch of things, just do it on her twitter @kkoger.