Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Ms should be the ONLY title for women

Posted in Ms - the only title for women by sheelanagigcomedienne on September 29, 2011

Ms should be the ONLY title for women.


I am so sick of this.  Why are we still having to tolerate such blatant sexist discrimination every time we are asked our name and title. My blood pressure rises each time  I am forced to choose .  There is only one kind of man but three kinds of women. How ridiculous. Single female – MISS-  available and marriageable and wants you to know it. Mrs married and respectable and not available and Ms – the normal one but often perceived as being some or all of the following – stroppy, divorced, lesbian, humourless, ball breaker and a bit of a ?

Such blatant sexism should be outlawed. It is another symptom of the struggle that we are still engaged in for equality in public life.

WE NEED A PETITION.  No doubt, there are women and men who want the status quo.  There will be married women who will desperately want to hang on to their Mrs designation and the defiant unmarried lady who wants to cling to her antiquated title MISS  as the proud spinster Miss Widdicombe does. But that is no reason why the majority of us have to put up with this nonsense.

It is interesting that Alexander Chancellor on Thursday 29th September wrote in the G2

On the other hand, I have little sympathy with the feminist objections in France to the use of “Mademoiselle” as a form of address for unmarried women. One of the things I like about France – a legacy of the French Revolution – is the way in which people of all stations address each other with the same formality and respect as “Monsieur”, “Madame”, or “Mademoiselle”. Feminists don’t like forms of address that differentiate between the married and the unmarried, but “Madame” and “Mademoiselle” don’t really do that any more: they are used in reference to age rather than marital status. And it would be a shame to deprive people of the opportunity for flattery that is offered by the word “Mademoiselle”.
So Master Chancellor thinks it is flattery to be addressed as Mademoiselle!
Here is an article from 2009 from that organ of conservativism the Daily Mail.

Mrs? Or is that Ms, Miss?

Nicolas Sarkozy holding the hand of Ms Carla Bruni, or Mrs Sarkozy-Bruni

Getting married? What do you call yourself now?
By Anna Browning
BBC News

In recent days the European Parliament has again caused “outrage” in the British press after publishing a pamphlet asking staff to refrain from using the titles Miss or Mrs.

“Ludicrous”, one Tory MEP told the Daily Mail. “Political correctness gone mad”, he continued. Another, in the Daily Telegraph, branded it a “waste of taxpayers’ money”.

It is more than 30 years since Ms began to gain ground among a US feminist movement keen to find a title which did not denote a woman’s marital status.

Decades later – while being a Ms might be seen in Brussels as simple as being, well, a Mr – many elsewhere are less keen to catch on.

‘Very unhelpful’

Being a Ms is, frankly, unheard-of in some quarters.

“I don’t think it’s very helpful,” said Charles Kidd, editor of Debretts Peerage and Baronetage – the guide to aristocracy.

“I was brought up to address a married woman as Mrs John Smith, for example.”

Being a Ms isn’t always plain sailing – with the most mundane tasks often turned into an exhausting battle of principle.

For example, attempting to take out insurance, this conversation is likely to follow:

“Name?”, “Jane Smith”.

Miss Ann Widdecombe MP
I can’t see the point of Ms and I don’t see it as an issue
(Miss) Ann Widdecombe MP

“Marital status?”, “married”. “Address Mrs Smith?”.

“Actually I’m a Ms, Mrs Smith is my mother.”

Momentary silence.

Then: “I’m sorry, if you’re married you can only be a Mrs. The system won’t allow another title.”

For married TV producer (Ms) Eve Kay – whose recent projects include Channel 4’s Jamie’s Ministry of Food – it is a familiar tale.

For example, the time she tried to fill out a criminal records check for a TV series she was producing involving children.

“I was naturally asked for my title. As always, I typed in ‘Ms’. At the end of the first page, though, I hit a roadblock.

“The program kept asking what my surname at birth was – annoying, since, despite getting married in 1994, I’ve had the same surname all my life.

“In their minds Ms is a title that means you have been divorced.”

Again, her dealings with insurers have also had their moments.

“I found that married women were given a different premium to unmarried women. Yet, because men are Mr and so they couldn’t tell their marital status, there was no change.”

Denis and Margaret Thatcher

Not everyone is hampered by titles showing their marital status.

Bureaucrats, she says, have “lost sight of the fact that we don’t want to be denoted by our relationship to men”.

Having said that she doesn’t agree with the European Parliament’s ban of Miss and Mrs.

“You can’t impose liberation on people; it has to come from understanding.

“It would be far better if women understood that being a Mrs or Miss is trivialising their independent status.”

A title which indicated a woman’s relationship to a man was simply “archaic”, she said, “a hangover from the past”.

Her own straw poll of the office on the issue found: “Women with children do get it and don’t much want to be seen as married and over-the-hill or a spinster.

“They can see that marital status being known at work is by no means helpful.

“Whereas young women couldn’t see what I was on about, because they hadn’t experienced any negative attitudes.”

‘No point’

Some though, just can’t see the point.

Says Miss Ann Widdecombe MP: “I’ve grown up with that title and it’s a perfectly good title. I can’t see the point of Ms and I don’t see it as an issue.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. These titles have been around for a very long time.”

And it needn’t be confusing: “I’m not confused. It’s everyone else who is.

“I use Ms as a form of convenience if I don’t know what they call themselves. But if they mention in a letter that they are married then I’ll use Mrs.”

Referring to the European Parliament, she said: “They want to make everything unisex. They don’t even want to say ‘man-made’ But man-made is an all-embracing term,” she said. It means women too.

For Charles Kidd, of Debrett’s: “It’s important to get someone’s title right. If someone does want to be called Ms then that’s fine.”

But, he added, he had never been asked to change somebody’s title of address from Mrs to Ms.

“I’ve just never heard of it,” he said.


It is so evident from these conversations that this question is NO LAUGHING MATTER BUT IS A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE and I have submitted a petition to HM Government!!


Ms should be the ONLY title for women.

Responsible department: Home Office

It is highly discriminatory that women have to choose from three different titles. Ms, Mrs Miss. This is sexist, misogynist, demeaning, intrusive and unjust. It should be outlawed as it seeks to establish a woman’s marital status and if Ms is chosen it implies divorce or strident feminism!. It is a symptom of the struggle women continue to have for equality in public life. Abolish it. It is no laughing matter but a civil liberties issue that has NOT gone away. So please introduce a law that requires that there is only one title for women and that be MS

This issue of the three option choice of titles for women is on a continuum of a universal misogynistic culture. From page three semi nude pictures, lap dancing clubs, pornography, prostitiution, sex slavery, sexual harassment, violence aginst women, sexual assault, rape, genital mutilation, child brides, forced marriages,  women’s average pay only two thirds of men’s, women’s  banned/restricted/or under representation in public life, politics etc.
I hope this petition helps in a small way in getting gender inequality on the agenda.
Here are some responses from BRITISH HUMANIST ASSOCIATION  members
1  This is from HUMANIST METROSEXUAL MALE.  He does NOT seem to understand that Humanist incorporates Feminist.

Submissive men again, putting up with being discriminated against.

This thread should be asking why I can’t have three titles instead of one, why should wimin be the only sex to get three titles?

We have Master which could be used for non-married men, there is no abbreviation for this, I suggest Mstr. would be ok.

For the Metro-sexual man who doesn’t want to be identified as married or single, we could have Mrrrr, for which men would have to learn to roll their ‘r’s, this would also be of benefit in later life when studying Latin languages.

While we are at it, perhaps someone could also start a petition against Wimbledon Tennis, they discriminate against men every year. Why is the prize money the same for men and women when men play best of five and women play best of three, surely in this world of equality, each sex should be playing the same amount of sets for the same amount of pay?

Submissive men, shafted again.

2 A civil liberties issue? Make ‘Mrs’ illegal? Sounds like political correctness to me.

Being male, it’s not an issue that affects me directly, so my opinion probably doesn’t count for much, and I wouldn’t expect to be given a vote on the matter…

But I agree that it’s ironic to argue that freedom can be enhanced by removing personal choice.

If it were the case that women HAD to adopt the title ‘miss’ if they were unmarried or ‘mrs’ if they were married, I’d agree that there was a problem.

Personally, I think that the more women adopt the ‘ms’ title, the less ‘baggage’ it will carry. Surely education is a better alternative than legal enforcement? How about making ‘ms’ more appealing ,rather than making it mandatory? If a greater number of women still opt to refer to themselves as ‘miss’ or ‘mrs’, have you really got the right to tell them they’re wrong and force them to change?

Surely the democratic and respectful solution is to present your argument but ultimately allow individuals to choose for themselves?

4  Although the wording of the petition comes over too strong for me, I think the underlying principle is sound. Having to address women according to their marital status is anachronistic and implies that that status is significant in a way it’s not for men. As humanists, and being concerned for gender equality, we should be aware of the subtle ways that society tries to categorise women in a way it does not men, and the effects that can have on both sexes.

Of course there are far more significant issues facing women in particular and all people in general. But if we take the approach that we should ignore those lesser issues, how can we possibly justify fighting for the rights of the non-religious, who don’t exactly have that hard a time in our first world country, when there are children starving in the third world? And it’s not as if it’s going to cost us much to drop the Miss/Mrs and just use Ms.

5   So Doctor, Professor. Rev, Major, Colonel should not be options as well? ONLY Ms.

Smacks of the worst aspects of political correctness to me – any woman who objects to being called Mrs or Miss can make their wishes known but to make it a legal requirement on Governement documentation? Give me a break.


I got this response from Jane Ellison our MP when I mentioned it in a letter to her about abolishing the bloody Bishops in the House of Lords.

I was very interested to hear that you have started an e-petition on the Government’s website, which would make the ‘Ms’ the default female title. A default ‘Mrs’ title, in my experience, is an anachronism –  I would much prefer Ms, and use this in letters to female constituents who do not indicate any personal preference. I have tried, not always succcessfully, to persuade other bodies to do the same and, as you know, use the title ‘Ms’ myself. 


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