Siobhan O’Dwyer called out Qantas Airways on Twitter after one of its flight attendants had the temerity to address her as “Miss O’Dwyer.”
“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,” her Aug. 31 tweet said.
O’Dwyer is a senior lecturer in Aging and Family Care at the University of Exeter in the UK and received her doctor of philosophy degree in 2009, according to the university’s website. She is not a medical doctor. Her post has since gone viral, garnering more than 8,000 likes and 4,000 comments, including dozens that point out she doesn’t deserve the lofty salutation.
“If you went to medical school you are Dr. O’Dwyer. If you have a PhD; you are Siobhan O’Dwyer PhD, & you have a ‘Doctorate Degree,’” wrote @rofoutz. “You are not however a Doctor as understood by society & you shouldn’t feel free to steal the title claimed centuries ago by the medical profession.”
Another person, @HedShodd replied, “I have NEVER been even at a conference, at least in physics, where anyone insisted on being called ‘doctor’ or ‘professor’. Apparently those 8 years didn’t manage to turn you into a decent human being, Miss O’Dwyer.” Another person, @MakaylaLouiseee, was empathetic toward the Qantas staff.
“Oh dear, a busy flight attendant made a mistake because they were trying to get 300+ people onto a plane in a timely matter. But sure have a Sook on twitter because it fuels your ego,” she wrote, referring to O’Dwyer grousing on social media. “You’re the kind of person that gives feminists a bad name. Go off sis.” The hate mail prompted O’Dwyer to follow up with an explanation.
“Copping so much flack for this tweet. 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 on Sunday. But that tweet spurred even more outrage.
“Don’t think it’s got anything to do about being a woman in a mans world. Being a ‘Dr’ is a job title, it’s not your name,” @Strop1 replied. “I never walked around demanding to be called Nurse Ray everywhere when I was working (retired now). You need to get your own self importance.” Qantas didn’t comment on O’Dwyer’s incident specifically.
“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 spokesperson told Yahoo. “Our crew treat all passengers with the utmost respect, regardless of age, gender, and occupation.”