I found the salutation on the July 2020 Books and Beyond newsletter from the Canmore Public Library to its members, telling us: “We're Back, Baby!” to be offensive and inappropriate.
Women fought decades to get rid of the patronizing, demeaning term “baby” when applied to females over the age of majority.
The reference started in cigarette ads in 1969 and quickly spread throughout the (male) population and was used as a put-down of women. Do you remember having to cringe when passing construction sites in the boom times anywhere in Alberta?
The library is not targeting actual babies, if they can read and understand I will reassess my perception of Canmorons', rather Canmorites’ intelligence. Your reaction to this phrase, will indicate how important labels are.
They are directing this "We're Back, Baby!," in terms of children, either to mothers or other care-giving adults, neither of whom deserve a condescending attitude. And the rest of us are certainly far past that designation.
I fought this language battle a long time ago, unfortunately most of the library staff are too young to remember the way semantics were used to keep women from being heard.
Any member of a marginalized group will attest to being pigeon-holed at some time by a snide remark or slur. Does the current discussion of unconscious bias and systemic racism stop at colour? Shouldn’t we be applying these truths to every aspect of our lives?
The library could be leading the way in discerning which words of acknowledgement are allowed to remain in the public vernacular; they are after all, the keeper-of-words and the ideas they express.
I think they can do far better than this in their communication.