Last week, I watched the Star Trek the Next Generation episode, Disaster. The Enterprise has a collision, and is severely damaged. Captain Picard is trapped in the turbo lift, Riker and Data in Ten-Forward, which leaves Deanna Troi as the senior officer on the bridge.
Chief O’Brien (who appears to be the only enlisted person on the entire ship) calls her “Sir.”
Which has me scratching my head. Where did that come from?
At my first duty station, we had a woman officer, a West Point graduate who looked like Princess Di. She was ma’am.
And I’ve since met women flag officers—that’s any officer with stars, like admirals and generals, and they were all ma’ams (and I was petrified that my clothes were going to break out in wrinkles at any moment).
Seriously, would you call a man a “ma’am”? I’m sure someone on TV thought it was a cool idea, but no, so no. Devalued the character.