The research revealed that one in four women also think it's "belittling" when other women use them as well
While Kellogg’s is better known for pushing red bathing suits rather than gender studies, as part of its Special K Strength Is campaign, which emphasises nutritional health over calorie counting, the cereal brand polled more than 2,000 British women about their most hated pet name. Three out of five women named ‘bird’ as the one they most wanted to see fly away, while doll, chick, babe, and queen bee round out the flop five.
The surveyed also revealed that while women were mostly concerned with men calling them by their hated pet names, one in four respondents also claimed that being called one ‘babe’ or ‘doll’ by other women was just as “patronising” and “belittling.”
Kellogg’s also asked women to weigh in on the word they routinely encountered that they most found derogatory, with ‘hormonal’ at the top after 68% of women chose it. The remaining terms named in the top five include drama queen, bitchy, high maintenance, and hysterical. Nearly half of the women polled also said it was particularly offensive when called ball breaker, diva and highly strung.
“It’s very important young women in society grow up learning that you are not a ‘ball breaker’ if you are successful – you are simply a strong woman succeeding,” said Girls Aloud singer Nicola Roberts, the face of the Strength Is campaign. “Women are too often called ‘bossy’, ‘feisty’ or ‘attention seeking’ – now is the time to change the conversation and rewrite the vocabulary we use to empower women and not let others define us.”