A mother recently sparked an ongoing discussion revolving around the essentiality of titles such as Miss, Mrs, and Ms for women.
Recently, a woman posted her story on Mumsnet, the popular British parenting platform. She was asked for her title while buying a lamp from a store and felt it unnecessary as “it’s not information the shop needs.” Shocked by this experience, she wanted to know everyone else’s opinion about it.
She asked whether it was outdated to refer to women by their marital status and pondered the idea of removing this practice entirely.
Countless individuals sided with the anonymous poster, some of which labeled it as ‘patriarchal nonsense’.
Nevertheless, others suggested that titles should still be retained for when it is necessary to formally address someone.
The woman said: “I was ordering something in a shop the other day and the assistant, in her 20s, was putting my details into their system.”
“She said, I hate asking this, I find it so embarrassing but are you, Miss, Ms or Mrs? I replied, ‘I’m Miss’.”
“I was there with my daughter so in that one exchange I’d divulged I was a single, unmarried parent.”
“It’s not information the shop needs for me to order a lamp. And if I was a man, they’d be Mr and none the wiser as to marital status. I know I could say Ms but does any married woman really use Ms?”
“So Ms just ends up sounding like a Miss with issues. It got me thinking why do we need personal titles, how often are they really used anyway?”
“Can they not just be scrapped from form filling? With the increasing desire by the younger generation to not even be defined by gender, identifying women by their marital status feels so outdated.”
“It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow and in the spirit of embracing equity, isn’t it time we abolished women being defined by marital status?”
Individuals were in agreement with the poster’s opinion that the titles should be abolished and modernized.
One person said: “I didn’t take my ex-husband’s name when we got married and remained a Miss. So Miss doesn’t always mean single or unmarried.”
“I think we should do away with it too though along with the expectation a woman takes her husband’s name on marriage. Patriarchal nonsense.”
Another person said: “Agree, it’s utterly pointless. I did not start using Mrs when I got married. I don’t think a woman’s marital status should have anything to do with her title.”
“If someone desperately wants others to know they are married I’m sure there’s plenty of other ways they could do it.”
Another said: “Why does someone selling you a lamp need to even know whether you are male or female?”
“I always try to leave it blank. If pressed, I use Dr, not because I am showing off but because it is no one else’s business whether I am male or female, married or unmarried.”
Conversely, certain individuals argued that the titles should stay in place since they are a formal and polite way to refer to one another.
One person said: “But some people like Mrs? We need to keep them because we need to be able to address people formally in some circumstances. But Ms for women could be the default until someone is corrected.”
Another added: “Not abolish them altogether, but there are many circumstances where they are not needed such as that the OP describes and in those cases just name and surname should be asked for.”
Another person stated: “I’ll admit I haven’t read the full thread so not sure if it’s been raised – but from a retailers point of view, I have to phone multiple customers everyday to let them know that their ordered items have arrived in store.”
“Most people don’t fill in the Mr/Mrs etc section of the order form and only put a first initial for first name. It’s actually quite awkward phoning an S.Smith, M.Henry, A.Jones etc and knowing how to address them.”
“Natural to me would be to say ‘Hello, Mr/Mrs Jones?’ but you can’t with nothing to go on lol.”
Nevertheless, some people opined that titles should not be discarded entirely—maybe all women should just go by “Ms.”.
One person said: “It annoys me too but I don’t think the answer is to get rid of titles.”
“The answer is for ‘Ms’ to become the only option for women, like ‘Mr’ for men. For this to happen, more women like you need to adopt it and decide to use it.”
“I’m married and I use it unapologetically. I don’t think it makes people think I have ‘issues’.”
Another person wrote: “I use Ms and I’m married. What are the issues? It’s a straightforward – marital status isn’t relevant.”
Another added: “I’ve been a Ms since my 20s, through marriage, divorce etc. Really don’t see the problem here.”
Another wrote: “I’m married and have always used Ms. I think of it as the female equivalent of Mr- it doesn’t indicate whether I’m married or not.”