I bought the doilies at a Dollar Store, a place where you can easily get mass-produced products of unexceptional quality. The doilies remind me of old-fashioned home decorating, popular in the US in the 1940s and 1950s. I always thought they were a bit frilly and useless, although hand-made needlework of real quality is quite beautiful. Aside from doilies being referential to women’s work and decoration, their poor quality refers to a general lowering of standards, or “cheapness”. I also see this deterioration spill over into our language, encouraging generic terms and nouns of inferior quality. My mom told me to always speak up if I was bothered when someone called me a generic term instead of my name, or Miss. Her particular annoyance was being called “honey” and she always told the person addressing her that she was not that person’s honey – that she had a proper name or to address her as Madam. I was never able to get up enough nerve to squelch a term delivered to me -- or anyone I knew – so this series is dedicated to my mother and all those women who do speak up.