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Why Are North American Women Being Branded? Do You Ask for Silly Titles Like Miss, Mrs, Ms?

Why is it that when a man is single, he’s addressed ladyformally as mister (Mr); when that same man gets married, he’s still addressed formally as mister… and, if at any time during his lifetime he becomes divorced, he’s addressed formally as (you guessed it) mister?

Yet, when a woman is single, and addressed formally she’s addressed as Miss. When married, a woman is formally addressed as Mrs (apparently short for mistress)… and, should SHE become divorced, she’s addressed formally as Ms.

Why are North American women being branded like this?

Huh! And I thought the North American society had evolved well beyond others…

Isn’t this branding of sorts just a sly way for North American’s society to brand women? Hey look everyone, this one is single, or this one is divorced… How sick is that!

When will North America truly advance to a society where there’s no longer any need for branding a female’s failures while masking all male failures?

Whether you agree with me on this issue or not, please comment below. I’d LOVE to know your take on this.

Credit for Header: image by AnandKZ Why text question marketing office on Pixabay

About the Author Trish

Given my passion for genealogy, is it any wonder that I eventually wanted to publish my work? Learning to use a personal computer was a natural step once I was introduced it in the 1990s. Then the internet offered a second means to "publish" and now, here I am with a personal blog.

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8 comments
Heather Yaxley says August 8, 2013

Interesting post Trish, especially when you consider how everyone is increasingly 'branding' themselves with their online presence. I was surprised when a very bright PR undergraduate chose Mrs as part of her Twitter name a few years ago. Why would she want to label herself in that way when she was largely talking about her work? I'm not knocking marriage but am not really sure why women (such as Ivanka) feel it necessary for everyone to know they are married with a label. Would have been interesting if she'd explained more rather than simply insulting you.

That's really another topic, but again, I don't get why so many women utterly reject any suggestion that they might care about issues that are termed feminist. "I'm not a feminist, but…" seems an odd dismissal when clearly women do care about a variety of issues that affect them because of their gender. Personally, I am not interested in all the issues that 'mommy bloggers' generally comment on, but I respect their right as women to discuss such feminist issues.

Perhaps it is an F-word we should reclaim?

BTW, regarding Mistress – I don't think this word carried the sexual connotations that it does today when it was abbreviated to Mrs. Indeed, the dictionary definitions are quite nice (as it signifies a woman who has authority or control over something – Mistress of your own destiny perhaps!) So maybe that is another word we could reclaim and let's all term ourselves Mistress if we have to have a title…

Reply
    Trish says August 9, 2013

    It's not even that "we" are branding ourselves Heather. I can understand the "high" one might feel being married to an awesome fella and wanting to tell the world about it… that's kind of romantic… though shortsighted. However, how many forms have you filled out that insist you MUST select a salutation?

    "Who cares?" , is always my response, "My name is Trish Parr." Why is my marital status important to my purchasing a product or registering an online account?

    I have had to correct far too many business owners when they ask me my name and I tell them "Trish Parr" then they go on to say, "Well, Mrs. Parr…" Grrrrr… I always come back with, "PLEASE call me Trish. I did NOT marry my father!" Their excuse always seems to be that they're trying to be polite. Then I explain that I just gave them the right to call me Trish by NOT supplying a salutation.

    Femininity isn't even an issue here. My preference is for ONE salutation for ALL women is so that our marital status can remain as "private" as a man's marital status.

    Reply
      Heather Yaxley says August 9, 2013

      Trish – thanks for the response. I meant that we all create a 'brand' for ourselves these days, particularly online where we choose social media identities and the way we present, or represent, how we wish to be seen. Then, as you say, others similarly label or brand us either from their interpretation of what we present, or according to social conventions.

      I was thinking yesterday about the French approach to this issue (having just returned from seeing my mother who lives there – although she is British). All women are addressed as Madam regardless of any marital status. Girls are addressed as Mademoiselle so there is presumably a perceived age at which a switch is made. This seems more reasonable – although again it is a gender label but at least not related to marital status or any feminist principles.

      Reply
        Trish says August 13, 2013

        Hey Heather, that IS interesting. But now I'm curious. If the French call younger girls Mademoiselle, what do they call younger boys? If the boys are still being addressed as Monsieur then there is still a difference that needs to be removed.

        I love my femininity but I'm tired of having society assume I have a man paying my way. Guess that's my real reason for being ticked at being called "Mrs" a lot of the time …and mostly by women in business.

        Reply
          Heather Yaxley says August 13, 2013

          I am not sure what they call young boys in France, but according to Wikipedia, an equivalent title used to be Mondamoiseau – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_name – which hasn't been used since the 17th century.

          This is an interesting article on the topic – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb…. The writer implies it is a sexual distinction (ie not even gender but availability!). In my experience, as per many of the commentators, it is more about age. Someone mentions there the same applies in Italian (and maybe Spanish?).

          This article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_%28form_of_ad… – suggests that the English male child title of Master (as opposed to Miss) is viewed as old-fashioned and not used after age of 8 – being replaced with nothing or Mr. Where here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss) there is discussion of the 'problem' of the female equivalent.

          So I suppose titles are an ongoing issue in many Western countries. Not sure if the same applies in other places.

          Reply
          Trish says August 13, 2013

          LOL, figures.
          Time to toss in those silly salutations and call us each by our names. Else, why have names at all 😉

          Reply
Trish says February 14, 2012

How do you figure the label you've placed on my rant? The whole reason for my post is that I do NOT like being branded. So, Ivanka… are you saying you enjoy being branded as being single, married, or divorced? Yikes!

Reply
ivanka says February 13, 2012

What a feminazi. Some of us enjoy the title.

Reply
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