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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.

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