This is What a Qantas Employee Called a Woman with a PhD. Shocked?

by Evil HR Lady on September 3, 2018

“Miss.” That’s what a Qantas employee called passenger Siobhan O’Dwyer. Frankly, I’m appalled and think they should have called her Ms.

But, O’Dwyer thinks the airline employee should have called her “Doctor.” She tweeted:

Not everyone was on her side. She also jumped to a whole lot of conclusions, especially the part where she determined that the employee decided the “Dr” was a typo. She has no clue why the employee made that decision. My guess is that the employee calls all females Miss and all males Mr.

To keep reading, click here: This is What a Qantas Employee Called a Woman with a PhD. Shocked?

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Huggins September 3, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Too sensitive!

If the person was treated politely, then she’s already ahead of the game.

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Anonymous September 3, 2018 at 9:35 pm

It is not polite to call someone by the incorrect title.

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Rexford L September 4, 2018 at 1:00 am

in her case.. “squidlips” would be an appropriate title..

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Trent September 4, 2018 at 6:45 am

As an Australian, I can confirm that the appropriate title is “[SQUIDLIPPING SQUIDLIPS]”

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Serafina September 4, 2018 at 11:08 am

That [squidlip] is a [squidlipping] disrespectful, attention [squid], who the [squidlips] does she think she, is the [squidlipping] queen?? This is an honest response from an English person.

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HSmall September 4, 2018 at 6:30 pm

What is a title anyway. What does it really mean? For example a doctor is put in Jail. What do you call him/her then? I bet it is not doctor.

Society is all messed up. What does a person who just meets you call you? Do you tell them you are a doctor and should be called doctor …..? I dont think so.

Personally, if you did that to me showing you feel or believe you are better than the rest of the world I would walk away and ignore you as you truly deserve.

Just because you study more than someone else doesn’t make you any better than a person living on the street or in poverty.

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charles September 3, 2018 at 3:24 pm

It is interesting that some of those who agree with her aren’t above calling others names! @DrMel_T calls the flight attendant (someone who has to know first aid, proper plane evacuation, etc.) a “trolley dolly” – clearly meant to be condescending.

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Evil HR Lady September 3, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Yep. That was super rude.

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Observer September 5, 2018 at 2:34 am

That one struck me too. What utter hypocrisy.

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Julie September 5, 2018 at 10:50 pm

Yeah, me too. Usually a sign of someone who is very insecure about them self.

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Kathy September 3, 2018 at 5:13 pm

At ex-job a surprising number of men addressed me as “Miss” or “Missy” in spite of my gray hair. The ones who did this engaged in other gender-related put-downs as well, where those who called me by my given name tended not to do so. I have come to realize that “Miss” is often not a mistaken attempt at formal politeness or an expression of southern charm but a way for a man to hint that while he’s an adult she’s just a girl. It’s an intentional slight that men can get away with because a woman who objects can be so easily be called “sensitive” or “feminist.” I’m with you that people who don’t know a woman’s title should at least use “Ms.” if politeness is their intention.

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Cadiz September 3, 2018 at 10:54 pm

You seem overly sensitive to people being polite.

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Observer September 5, 2018 at 2:35 am

“Missy” is NOT polite.

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DArcy September 3, 2018 at 6:02 pm

“Miss” is not a neutral, generic address towards a female person; that would be “Ms”. Unless *specifically asked for* by the person it’s being applied to, “Miss” is an explicitly condescending, belittling term even outside of its sexist history.

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Gigihr September 3, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Geez, at my age (48) it MAKES MY DAY when someone calls me “miss” with the implication that I might look too young to him or her to be called “ma’am.” I’d pay good money for people to stop this ridiculous trend of seeing slights and insults in every little thing when most of the time people only have good intentions.

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Maria Rose September 3, 2018 at 9:12 pm

You said it right, the “ Miss “address was not meant as an insult but a measure of politeness. I wondering if this person who was so insulted by not being addressed as “Dr.” would have preferred the “ Ma’am” address. It is not as if she was being announced in presentation but merely an acknowledgement of her ticket as having been processed.
Those who make a big deal of their title being acknowledged obviously don’t deal with acknowledging others who are giving them a service politely. Because they felt those individuals are beneath their level of respect as persons.
Too bad this complainer couldn’t hear the thoughts behind the person whose service was deemed inadequate for failure to acknowledge their precious title of “Dr.”

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Michael September 3, 2018 at 9:20 pm

I know a few doctors. They’re MD’s actually. I’ve known many more over the years. Must world be preferred to be called just bob or John or Stephanie ect. Skipping the doctor thing all together. Christ what a pompous person. That doctor was. And is.

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Goober September 4, 2018 at 1:21 am

I can only recall one person who ever made any mention specifically that he was a doctor. He was a professor of mathematics (and they are a strange breed in so many ways), and he mentioned it primarily to make fun of medical doctors, who weren’t, in his exalted opinion, “real doctors.” (He wasn’t very serious about it, but it did get a chuckle from most of the students in the Calculus class.)

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Millennial Perspective September 4, 2018 at 7:01 am

Really? I working a hospital and most of the Drs flip if you use their given name.

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Goober September 4, 2018 at 1:18 am

When I was young (before Ms. came into common use), “Miss” was the proper honorific for an unmarried woman of any age. “Mrs.” was the proper honorific for a married woman of any age. “Ma’am” would work for either, though it tended to be used for older women one might expect to be married. “Madam” could be take as a formal honorific, and very polite, or a slur suggesting the woman was a hooker, depending on context.

In the end, though, there isn’t a single honorific that won’t offend *someone*, so I think we should just call everyone “Bob.”

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Gerald Pulver September 4, 2018 at 3:52 am

In American usage of English, my impression that “Madame” was a formal way to address a woman while a “Madam” managed a brothel. An article i.e. “The” or “A” would commonly be used with the latter, not the former.

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HSmall September 4, 2018 at 6:35 pm

WOW! Society has really created a lot of maladjusted people.

When I was young we were told “Sticks and stones can break your bones but names will never hurt you”
When was this lost in society?

Call someone a Shit or C… or F…. A…. you can be insulting them but in the right context it is not an insult.
Don’t want to be called miss – get over your own self importance and learn respect for others.
Expecting people to pander to your ego is not a good behavioural trait to have

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Eric September 3, 2018 at 6:24 pm

I also have a PhD, but I don’t expect people to call me Doctor. I leave that one for the MDs. I cannot recall ever having any airline employee call me anything other than Mr.

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JSP September 4, 2018 at 2:34 am

I agree. I know several people with doctorates, and none expects to be called Dr., except perhaps in their professional setting, such as a professor at a university, A PhD. Social Worker who counsels may be called Dr. by her clients. Only Medical Doctors routinely use Dr. as their daily honorific.

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PJ September 4, 2018 at 3:20 am

I’m a medical doctor and work with medical doctors. We only use the title in a professional setting. I would cringe if one of my colleagues told someone to call them doctor outside of work.

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Julie September 5, 2018 at 10:49 pm

I work in a medical clinic and none of our MDs would ever insult someone who didn’t address them as Dr. Most don’t even use the title when I introduce them to a new employee (although I always do introduce them as Dr. in that setting).

Methinks this person is incredibly insecure about herself if she makes fun of other people’s jobs while simultaneously complaining that they didn’t properly recognize her title.

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HSmall September 4, 2018 at 6:41 pm

Hi Eric: Exactly. you and everyone else in society have chosen a career pathway. You earned your PHD and Doctorate. Well done. Now you use it as you see fit to benefit your life and that of your family or maybe just to help society. Only you know the reasons.

Others who either did not have the intellect, dedication or money or family situations to allow them to study are no less a person for not having a PHD.

If you studied a PHD to be called doctor then you did it for all the wrong reasons as this person has clearly done. People like that are a menace to society.

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Lee Donnell September 3, 2018 at 6:25 pm

When in 1969-70 I (German/Scottish/Irish/Cherokee and all gringo male) was teaching English in a Puerto Rican middle school in Bayamon, the students would raise their hands and call out “Missy, Missy” in order to get my attention. They meant no disrespect. This was just a result of the fact that they had had mostly female teachers since the 1st grade. They were among some of the finest young students it has been my pleasure to know. One can look for reasons to be insulted or accept life as it is.

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Robert Stephen Campbell September 3, 2018 at 8:42 pm

Her NAME is not “doctor.” “Doctor” is a title that has nothing to do with her air travel. For that matter, not every woman likes to be called “Ms.” My mother did not. If someone male addressed her using Ms, she replied by calling them “Murr.”

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Bud September 3, 2018 at 10:37 pm

Read her mini bio and there’s the reason she felt the need to microaggress……feminist. Someone making near minimum wage trying to be polite and it wasn’t good enough for the dear “doctor”.

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Anonymous September 3, 2018 at 11:18 pm

That’s funny. My dad has two PhDs and he’s never thrown a hissy fit if someone calls him mister. This woman is a total pretentious loser.

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Goober September 4, 2018 at 1:26 am

I know a woman with three PhDs, and at least two Masters. The only person who has ever mentioned in around me was a mutual acquaintance (who also has a PhD), who will introduce with the line “There’s four PhDs in the room, and only one of them is mine.”

She prefers to be called “Nina.”

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Megan September 4, 2018 at 1:32 am

My dad is the same…he’s had his Ph.d for 40 years and responds the same whether he is called Mr. or Dr.

Titles are that important to people who have little else in their lives that can be truly considered important.

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Seaton Smithy September 4, 2018 at 5:08 am

There’s an academic in The Netherlands who has 2 PhDs, and insists that people address him as Doctors (plural).

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Max September 4, 2018 at 5:05 pm

Interestingly enough, in the UK NHS system, there is a place where medical doctors are called Dr. But when they reach full-fledged Consultant status, they are called Mr. and Ms. So if your consultant is e.g. “Mr. Davis”, this is a top level doctor, renowned specialist.

They may be even very mildly disliking of being called “Dr.”, but will never start a hiss out of it. Just most probably ignore it. The only one who can (again, mildly) correct you, will be probably their secretary.

Yes, this doctor lady clearly is having unresolved issues about her self-esteem. To her, an old Russian advice would be applicable: “Call me a pot all you want, just don’t put me into the oven”.

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Charles September 4, 2018 at 12:53 am

I knew it! She’s a psychologist.

In the hospital where I work the psychologist in charge of the ER psych patients doesn’t have ‘DR’, on her badge, we call her Doctor anyway, but as a general rule if you’re not an MD or a DO I’m not impressed and I’m unlikely to use that title, especially if the degree is in an academic field.

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Lara September 4, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Technically, the title of “Doctor” has existed for academic fields for far longer than its use for physicians, so I still try to use it in formal settings.

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Bobby Sammons September 4, 2018 at 12:58 am

To most of us in the “unwashed masses” A Ph.D. isn’t a Doctor, an MD is a doctor. To us, Ph.D. just means piled higher and deeper! And in this case, I think it fits.

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Scott J Fruchter September 4, 2018 at 8:54 am

At Yale University the student handbook (this section last revised in 1935) specified that MD’s were to be called doctor (were there no DO’s?) and all other faculty members were addressed as Mister. A $.25 fine was to be self imposed and paid upon graduation for each infraction.

I thought little of this until my second year of grad school when I started dating a professor at the Nursing School. Despite my showing her the college handbook, she objected strongly to being called mister. We dated for two years and were later engaged since I stopped calling here mister.

Now imagine the campus police when shortly after my graduation I walked into their office and gave them a check for $418. (in 1976), and explained this was my best estimate of what I owed for my violation of the 1935 rule.

The was significant befuddlement but they eventually accepted the check. I learned later that the University applied it to my student loans.

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Mark Saiz September 4, 2018 at 1:25 am

And I havent spent 42 years being Hispanic for someone to call me by my name “Mark”, you call me mexican. I’ve worked hard to be brown.

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Scott Joseph Fruchter September 4, 2018 at 9:01 am

I LIKE IT!

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jdgalt September 4, 2018 at 6:44 am

In this day and age, so many people are hypersensitive about this unimportant question that I’d be tempted to call a potential employee “Miss” or “Ma’am” just to see if she reacts angrily, because I wouldn’t want anyone that sensitive on my staff (lest they blow up at a customer).

Am I likely to get in trouble if I do that?

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Millennial Perspective September 4, 2018 at 7:06 am

Having a test for female employees only during the interview? Nah of course there is nothing to worry about there.

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Scott J Fruchter September 4, 2018 at 8:39 am

As the Reverend Doctor Professor (all earned degrees or appointments from universities that you heard of)……, my airline ticket says Scott. I really don’t care what you call me as long as you call me for an upgrade to first class if one becomes available. That is something I doubt the above mentioned doctor will ever see.

The wisest man I ever met was, Hagen A. K. Staak, who earned doctorate degrees in theology and geology, survived Dachau Concentration Camp and fighting for Germany on the Russian front; told me the meaning of a university degree. It took me years to realize what he meant. When he earned his first Ph.D. he called his Father and announced that they had a doctor in the family. His Father, a wise man with no letters after his name, said, “Hagen, a degree is important only if you don’t have it.” Somewhere in the process of earning a BA, three Masters, and a Doctorate; I learned what that meant.

At 67 I’m working on my next degree, an AA from our local community college.

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Scott J Fruchter September 4, 2018 at 9:07 am

At Yale University the student handbook (this section last revised in 1935) specified that MD’s were to be called doctor (were there no DO’s?) and all other faculty members were addressed as Mister. A $.25 fine was to be self imposed and paid upon graduation for each infraction.

I thought little of this until my second year of grad school when I started dating a professor at the Nursing School. Despite my showing her the college handbook, she objected strongly to being called mister. We dated for two years and were later engaged since I stopped calling here mister.

Now imagine the campus police when shortly after my graduation I walked into their office and gave them a check for $418. (in 1976), and explained this was my best estimate of what I owed for my violation of the 1935 rule.

The was significant befuddlement but they eventually accepted the check. I learned later that the University applied it to my student loans.

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Lorie September 4, 2018 at 2:29 pm

I guess I’m a little confused as to how she knew she was called Miss and not Ms. They sound similar when said…was it written down or can she read words that come out of people’s mouths with her Doctorate degree…Anyway, I’d venture to say like most people, the attendant was just being polite. If her first name was on her flight ticket, there’s also a good chance the attendant didn’t know how to pronounce it as it isn’t pronounced anything like it’s spelled.

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Evil HR Lady September 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm
Julie September 4, 2018 at 11:16 pm

I was wondering that myself because I thought that Ms. was pronounced as “Miss.” Perhaps there is a slight tonal inflection that I have not picked up on.

I don’t care what anyone calls me as long as it isn’t late to dinner!!! 🙂

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Dr. Ray Meyers, DSW, ACSW September 4, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Dr. O’Dwyer is correct! Hopefully, people wouldn’t intentionally misspell her name. With the same consciousness, no one should refer to Dr. O’Dwyer with her previous honorific. She worked too long (many years longer than those with a Masters degree) and too hard (of those without a doctorate, how many of you have presented a dissertation – or want to?) to be grouped among those who haven’t done such work! – Dr. Ray Meyers, DSW, ACSW (Social Work)

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GreenDoor September 5, 2018 at 10:58 pm

Please Dr. Ray…I work among a lot of Ed.D’s and Ph.D’s. Don’t give me “worked too long…and too hard.” Do you know how many Ph.D’s and Ed.D’s around me have their secretaries, interns, or grad students doing all the research and legwork for their dissertations? Puh-lenty.

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Evan September 4, 2018 at 5:52 pm

I’d give her the benefit of the doubt. She said the Qantas employee “look at my ticket, look at me, look back at my ticket” before deciding NOT to address her with the correct title. I could imagine the entire body-language thing was what upset her and led to her presumptions.

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DArcy September 5, 2018 at 7:41 am

Yeah, that’s very important context which offers pretty strong evidence that the use of “Miss” was intentionally disrespectful.

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charles September 6, 2018 at 2:32 am

More likely than not the flight attendant was trying to figure out how to read her first name (not everyone is familiar with Irish for Joan) and didn’t want to mess it up!

But, then I’m not female, nor do I have a Ph.D.; so I guess I cannot read other’s minds like women and Ph.D.s can!

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Julie September 4, 2018 at 11:18 pm

I have my MBA so perhaps I should have everyone refer to me as Mrs. (First Name) (Last Name), MBA because, dang it, I EARNED IT!

Get over yourself lady. You were one of a hundred plus people that flight attendant saw that day. I’m sure she could have cared less what your title was. Her job was to simply get you on and off the plane as quickly and efficiently as possible. #firstworldproblem

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Bob September 5, 2018 at 6:17 pm

she should have been called a$$hole she is not that special

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Bob September 5, 2018 at 6:19 pm

Should actually be pompous a$$hole

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earl brewster September 5, 2018 at 11:13 pm

This has to be the most over the top reaction to a perfectly polite address from the F.A. I have read all of the above posts and am no wiser as to what is wrong with “Miss” Please help.
The response of most people from the big island next to New Zealand would probably be ” Get over yourself, Sheila”
As well as a over the top reaction the amount of attention it has received is way out of proportion. Can’t believe that I posted.

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IT lite September 6, 2018 at 6:27 pm

All she had to do was say to the flight attendant, “I prefer Dr. O’Dwyer” – problem solved, end of story. Taking it to Twitter was over the top unnecessary, and only made her look petty.

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Dr. C September 11, 2018 at 5:46 pm

The article’s reference to style guides touches on a fairly heated debate within the medical community relating to the use of “doctor”. One of the comments suggested that “real doctors” don’t care about titles which is quite contrary to what can be seen daily in healthcare as physicians become territorial about the use of “doctor” by other providers who also hold doctorate degrees and provide clinical care.
Interestingly, the intent of the quoted architect’s comments reinforces the co-opting of “doctor” by physicians. Being a physician, architect, pharmacist, academic, etc… is your profession. “Doctor” is the honor you earned with your hard work and degree. No one should be shamed for being proud of that honor.

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