Mrs. vs. Ms. vs. Miss

It seems odd to me that it’s 2010 and women have to choose between Mrs., Ms., and Miss while men are just Mr. This has to be particularly confusing for kids, who always have to remember which prefix to address their teacher:
Boy – Mrs. Dougherty?
Teacher – Ms. Dougherty
Boy – Oh, why isn’t it Mrs. like all the other female teachers?
Teacher – Because I’m not married, I’m single.
Boy – Okay, well I actually wish I didn’t know that information – was just checking to see if I can use the bathroom – don’t really care if you’re single or not, gross.

Is this not extremely sexist? No matter what, dudes are “Mr.” If your first grade gym teacher was male and married, he was Mr. Myers. If he was male and single, he was creepy Mr. Myers. But no matter what, he’s always Mr. Myers. And as a kid, you know you’re not supposed to say the “creepy” part out loud. Furthermore, the creepy is something that you have to figure out on your own. Is this really fair to kids?

It’s high time for women to pick one prefix and stick to it. Where are my feminists at? Ten year olds don’t need to know their teacher’s marital status. My vote is for “Ms.” It’s short and simple, like Mr. If you want people to know you’re married, just say – “Oh hey, btw…I’m married.” Great. Nobody cares.


2 Responses to “Mrs. vs. Ms. vs. Miss”

  1. Finally, here is a sensible remark. “Mrs.” is properly used only with the name of the husband, i.e., Mrs. John Doe, and refers to a woman as an attachment to the husband. Yuck. Aren’t we beyond that? As this writer says, marital status is not everyone’s business, not something with which women should be labeled. Whether a woman likes Mrs. or not, the continued use of it reinforces the idea that women should be categorized as married or not, and contributes to our oppression. It’s not a little thing. Labels change perception and perpetuate inequality.

  2. The honorific “Ms.” is actually an acceptable form of use regardless of the woman’s marital status. “Miss” and “Mrs.” may be used for greater formality, but it isn’t necessary thanks to 21st century rules of etiquette.

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