One of Ms. Moe’s pet peeves

I have many on my list. This one is near the top.

One outcome of the 70’s Feminist movement was the introduction of a much needed new form of address into our language, a universal, generic form of address for women.

Men had always had such a form – “Mr”. On the other hand, women were forced to broadcast their social status – by using either “Miss” or “Mrs”. It was a pretty serious handicap for working women particularly. Or a woman seeking credit.

It also created awkward moments when addressing a woman with whom  you were not acquainted – Hello Miss Smith? Hello Mrs. Smith? Whoops? Sorry.

“Ms” was introduced as a sensible replacement for the previous two forms. It was immediately and widely embraced.

Except . . . except for those for whom moving wimmin’ out of the kitchen was the devil’s own work and likely the beginning of the end of our Christian nation.

So a politically correct compromise was applied and it made the situation much much worse.

Now on forms  are all those annoying check boxes where I must announce myself as either:

  • Mrs. – I am married and quite traditional. Thank you.
  • Miss – Unmarried and a little timid, if that’s okay. Also, I work at Publix.
  • Ms – None of your business, creep. I’m a ball busting feminist pinko commie dyke anyway!

27 responses to “One of Ms. Moe’s pet peeves

  1. Ha! Good one, Moe. I’m a “Missus” but I often check the “Ms” box just for the hell of it. What really gets my goat are the obituaries in our local paper that say “Mrs. John Whozits” has passed away and you have to read further down to find out the poor woman’s first name! Even in death she can’t be her own person….sheesh.


  2. Before I ran off to play Army, women were all Miss or Mrs. When I left the Army, women were increasingly Ms. I never even noticed the transition. The weird thing is that now there is no reason to have a selection. That is to say, if you do not use Dr. or Col. or some similar title, the appropriate address is obvious by gender.

    It would seem to me that selecting “Mrs.” is tantamount to to referring to users of “Ms.” as “ball busting feminist pinko commie dyke[s].”

    I’m going to start using “Rev.” That, or Generalissimo.


  3. Get a PhD. and then you’ll be Dr.

    Except you’ll still be labeled a volvo drivin’, latte sippin’, Sadam lovin’, screamin’ socialist, too-many book readin’, and all around non-real American.


    • When I was growing up there was a couple in town, both doctors and their last name – honest – was Doctor. They were known as Dr. Doctor and Mrs. Dr. Doctor. Completely convoluted but standards had to be maintained!!! Where’s my latte dammit!


  4. So what are ya’ gonna [sic] do??


  5. There’s another outcome of the same battle that bothers me more. It’s the hyphenated last name. I understand it has it’s origin in other cultures but not in ours. I would rather the woman retain her maiden name if she doesn’t want to pick up his. This silliness reached it zenith (for me) with a NY socialite whose name is (I kid you not) Barbaralee Diamondstein-Spielvogel.

    For a while some guys were doing likewise resulting in Robert and John Smith-Jones. Puh-leez!


    • Naming is dicey – especially when there are kids involved. We simply haven’t figured that out yet, but honest, if someone named Diamondstein-Spielvogel presented themselves to me, I’d just have to turn the hose on them.


  6. This is what I do: I just don’t check any of the boxes. My name is Sarah, thank you very much. I don’t need a title that explains my marital status, which is no one’s business. I think that even if my boyfriend and I got married (something neither of us is interested in doing) I would keep my own last name, or at the very least never introduce myself as “Mrs.” anything.


  7. In French (Québec, at least), the equivalent of Miss, Mademoiselle, got pretty much obsolete. All women are Madames. But young women as old as 25 can be called “jeune fille” (young girl).
    I think Madam could be used a lot more. Doesn’t it solve your problem?
    Gordon Ramsey uses it a lot – but he uses “donkey” a lot as well.


    • jean-philippe – of course that was the point of Ms. I guess the Quebecois (sp?)figured it out and we didn’t. It was intended that by using Ms we wouldn therefore make Miss and Mrs obsolete. But we added it – so instead of simplifying things, we ended up with an entire list of choices!

      Guess I’d better watch a little more Gordon Ramsey, eh!


  8. Ms. Holland,

    You are half a generation ahead of me. I never did get what the big deal was. But perhaps you liberated women of the 1960s had your point. As far as the women who kept the “Mrs. John Whozits” , many were happy with that choice. I’ve seen women choose that for 40 years of widowhood. Presuming they were no longer under the oppression of Mr. John Whozits .

    Again, I guess I am too much the traditionalist. Even the French have Madame and Mademoiselle. There is a touch of class to that.


    • Alan – I know you think we ‘liberated women of the 60’s’ were just enjoying some social mischief but appreciate you now see the whole point of ‘Ms.’

      Some day we’ll get it right, meanwhile we have to put up with that ms/mrs/miss nonsense. Talk about politically correct!


  9. Ms. Holland,

    So what is the solution ? What do you prefer ? Drop Miss and Mrs. Traditionalists, presumably even female, will prefer the old. Ms. is more formal and the default, when you don’t know what to do. Perhaps, I could address you as Dame Maureen Holland. In slang, calling a woman a “Dame ” is crude, yet under British honors it is a title equal to Sir. You rule changers have us poor males so confused.


    • I prefer that women, like men, have a single form of address that only reveals that htey are female. Every man is MR. Every woman should be MS. There will be lots of women who’ll cling to the old way, and as with any enforced change it’ll take a generation, but eventually it’ll be ocnsidered normal. 25 years ago, a woman doing the news (local stations – not network) was absolutely radical. Now it’s normal. Change happens and sometimes it needs to be guided.


  10. I think Mrs. is sexist in a subtle way. When you look at the word, you see Mr. in there, (Mr)s. To me, this insinuates ownership of a woman. She is now “stamped” by the Mr. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s how I see it.


  11. And I do not think it symbolizes oneness in a marriage. If oneness was the goal, then the last name of the wife would be used by the man, and both would be called Mrs. The more I think about it, the more obvious it becomes that this is very unequal.


  12. The Unrepublican,

    You don’t sound like an old married man. To those of us who have been married for decades, the joke is more like ” I wear the pants in the family, as often as she lets me. ” I know far more men who are owned by their wives than the other way around. The whole Mrs. ownership label is a fable. Who is the boss in a marriage is more a function of personality than gender and it varies with the particular issue. Besides, the boss’s job generally is more trouble than it’s worth.


    • No, I am not married. And, you make a fair argument. But, the point is this: In times past, and still in many places to this day, women were made to obey their husbands and were looked upon as property. The title of Mrs. was born of this way of thinking. If just for that reason alone, it should not be used anymore.


  13. See, anything that does not speak to a woman’s independence, has no place in our culture. It is as simple as that.


  14. The Unrepublican,

    I think that besides being single, you are awfully young. I am not mocking you as much as myself. Many women will “figuratively” kill to get that Mrs. title. Apparently you travel in different circles. Many men wish they had been killed after they give that title to their bride. For sure, in a marriage you have so many other problems, like money and kids, and money and in laws, and money to worry about. What were we talking about? Mrs. , Miss. , or Ms. Must be nice to have the luxury of having that as a problem in your life. 🙂


  15. Nope. I do not have that problem, and never will. Because, if I get married it will not be to a woman. 🙂 With that out of the way, I still have to say that I disagree. I think that the title of Mrs. is inherently sexist. I gave my reasons. Can you give a reason why it is not? How would you feel if when you married a woman, you took her last name (Smith, for example)? And, what if your title read as follows… Msr. Smith. Like it? I would not think so… :p


  16. Alan, I think Sam is right – the Mrs. title does derive from an older tradition of women as property – a tradition alive and well in less developed societies. We have left it mostly behind in the west (except for fundamentalist religious types), but the hints are still there even in the wider culture. It’s fading , but its there.


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