Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Ms.

Jetlag and perimenopause have something in common. Both have you waking up full-on at 3.00. This isn't funny. And then just as suddenly, as though your clock had wound down, just as you hear the alarm, you fall off again, into a deep sleep.

Austen and Sue have moved from central Southsea into rural Titchfield, far from the madding crowd. And it is indeed very pleasant here, and yet so far from the madding crowd that it's difficult to get anywhere without a car. Even the ubiquitous railways station is far enough away to make it awkward to get anywhere.

Yesterday was Ellie's second birthday. She's bright and is talking clearly and well. One of her birthday presents was an angel costume from Tesco's 'Nativity' range. I was quite surprised to see that this range includes a blue fairy outfit, complete with wings. I could only surmise that Mary has been supernaturalised.

In the Hampshire branch of the Schnee family, an interesting discussion has been taking place. Austen wondered about the mystery of the title 'Ms.' He feels it has not been accepted here, and in fact has negative connotations. In my job, where I see a procession of different teachers, it is the most common, overwhelmingly common title, that is used, often by female parents as well.

I find the most worrying thing that apparently, here, it is often associated with 'Feminist' or 'lesbian' and more to the point, that these are seen as negative.

'Ms.' was supposed to get round the discrimination associated with a title that referred not just to your gender, but to your marital status. I know a couple of people who avoid this altogether by refusing to use any title. I never give a title, but when pushed, certainly choose 'Ms.' I am married, but I do not choose to use my partner's surname. So I'm neither a Miss nor a Mrs. And then, is there a negative connotation associated with those too? At my age, is it better to be a Miss or a Mrs.? I'll stick with Ms. or nothing at all.

But the whole thing could be avoided completely, AND your earnings be increased, by adopting a man's name.

Makes you think.

4 comments:

Sleepy said...

I don't use any title either.

When I was younger I thought a 'Ms' was what a 'Miss' became when it was obvious they were no longer young enough to be a 'Miss'!

Adam said...

Mrs. is actually the abbreviation for mistress... as in, lady version of the mister or master. Missus is something else, which could easily be shortened to Ms., right? In any case, are these exercises designed to take a stand, to promote agenda, or to what end? As a mister, I don't run into this issue very often. I understand it was more commonplace to refer to a younger man as master back in the day. So, I went from master to mister, and you wax on and on about feminism and prefixes.

With a name like Janis you are less likely to have people wondering (upon viewing your written name, having not spoken with you, seen you, or heard about you), to wonder if the silk stockings they are sending you as a promotional gift are gender-appropriate than someone named Kris, Chris, Cris, Joe, or Shannon. For such individuals a prefix becomes a saving social grace.

It strikes me that Mrs. would be appropriate, even over Ms., because there is an implication of marriage and partnership, not possession or ownership.

Schneewittchen said...

It must be so tough for those senders of unsolicited junk now that women are allowed to become Doctors and Reverends.
Our marital status (and our gender) are our own business.

Adam said...

You don't call your female doctors "Doctora"? Darn those sexist romantic languages!