An academic who slammed Qantas after a flight attendant called her Miss instead of Doctor has sparked a fierce debate over whether the airline was really at fault.
Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer, an Australian academic currently working in the UK, took to Twitter on Friday to complain about her experience of being called Miss.
‘Hey Qantas, my name is Dr O’Dwyer. My ticket says Dr O’Dwyer. Do not look at my ticket, look at me, look back at my ticket, decide it’s a typo and call me Miss O’Dwyer. I did not spend 8 years at university to be called Miss,’ she wrote.
The post has received nearly 8000 likes and sparked debate about whether Dr O’Dwyer, who has a PhD in Philosophy, or the flight attendant was in the wrong.
Some have said Dr O’Dwyer was simply looking for an ego boost while others argued that to not call her doctor was a sign of disrespect.
Fellow academic Dr Mel Thomson tweeted her support, writing: ‘You have all of the solidarity on this issue.’
‘I’m first gen to finish high school (let alone get several degrees) in my family … I’ll be damned is some trolley dolly gets to decide what honorific I get called, FFS.’
Many people took offence with Dr Thomson’s use of the term ‘trolley dolly’, saying it was disrespectful to women and the flight attendant profession.
‘Please don’t refer to us as trolley dollies. We may not have completed a PhD however we are required by law 2 maintain quals (sic) that enable us to evacuate an aircraft in 90 secs, keep u alive in-flight, prevent hijacking, put out fires etc,’ an airline steward using the Twitter handle Belleo tweeted.
‘I have always used the correct honorific. And I have always been especially careful to ensure I used it when I saw it on a woman’s boarding pass as I was proud to be able to support the woman and her achievements in a male-centric world,’ she continued.
‘You’ve just gone and sh*t on that with your condescending comment about us.’
British man Tim Almond said people who insisted on being called Doctor on planes when they didn’t have a medical degree could
UK man Tim Almond said he had two friends with doctorates who refused to use their correct title outside of professional conferences.
‘You’re asking for trouble on an aircraft. A passenger gets stuck and they’ll ask you for help,’ he tweeted.
Qantas said they stood by the professionalism of their cabin crew.
‘We are extremely proud of our cabin crew who respectfully serve our customers day in and day out and play a vital safety role,’ a Qantas spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
After her tweet went viral, Dr O’Dwyer took to social media to say she had been ‘copping so much flak’ for the post.
‘This was not about my ego. It was about highlighting one of a thousand instances of sexism that women encounter every day. It’s not about the title, it’s about the fact that this wouldn’t have happened if I was a man,’ she wrote.
Twitter users were divided over Dr O’Dwyer’s reasoning, with some accusing her of making a big deal out of nothing and others agreeing it was a case of sexism.
‘Your tweet is exactly about ego. How many male doctors write tweets to Qantas complaining they get called Mr & not Dr ? If they did, they would cop exactly same the responses as you,’ one man wrote.
‘Why don’t the trolls understand that it’s about equality?,’ argued another.