Apr 3

It’s Ms. Ms.!! Say Mizzzzzzzzzzz!!!

We need equality. Kinda now.

I’m always stunned when something like this happens. I know I live in the deep south, and I know that I work with folks whose entire careers immerse them in the near- to distant-past. However, this is just crazy.

I got stopped my two people having an animated conversation, evidently engrossed in the subtleties of female honorifics. They were particularly confounded by the pronunciation of Ms. I offered my input (It’s a hardish z sound, like Mizz) and started to leave when one said something about me being a Mrs.

I said, “I actually don’t go by Mrs., I prefer Ms.”

“But you’re married! Only divorced women use Ms.

I rambled awkwardly about how it most certainly was not a construct for divorcees, but it didn’t seem like any of it sunk in. I’m just so stunned and baffled by such a ridiculous and narrow statement.

For the record:

Many of us think of Ms. or Ms as a fairly recent invention of the women’s movement, but in fact the term was first suggested as a convenience to writers of business letters by such publications as the Bulletin of the American Business Writing Association (1951) and The Simplified Letter, issued by the National Office Management Association (1952). Ms. is now widely used in both professional and social contexts. As a courtesy title Ms. serves exactly the same function that Mr. does for men, and like it may be used with a last name alone or with a full name. Furthermore, Ms. is correct regardless of a woman’s marital status, thus relegating that information to the realm of private life, where many feel it belongs anyway. Some women prefer Miss or Mrs., however, and courtesy requires that their wishes be respected.

There are 9 Responses

  1. I always tell people its “Mizz Matheny” :) and encourage them to spell it as such.

  2. For whatever it’s worth, I also use Ms. I also didn’t take my husband’s surname – I am Elise Taylor, I want to continue to be Elise Taylor, and I don’t see much point in changing part of my core identity due to a piece of paper. I’ve used Ms. since before I got married as well – I see no reason it should not be the exact equivalent of “Mr.”

  3. Elise,
    I’m totally in agreement with you. I’ve always been a Ms., due to my mother’s feminist influence. My husband and I both became Harris Glovers (though his end is more tricksy than my own, screw gender disparity!!) because we wanted something outward that didn’t diminish either of our identities.

  4. That is so completely fucked up — and absolutely tagged under, “My state is retarded.”


  5. You know I had a very similar conversation with my mother the other day. I remember having someone in the high school I use to ask why I always addressed mothers of students as Ms. Turns out they had never heard nor see the form used and assumed that I was inferring that the mother was divorced. They we stunned by my response that no I had no clue of the students parents were married, divorced or not and honestly it was none of my business. Just as I would refer to a father of a student as Mr. I refer to the mother as Ms. Unless a person tells me otherwise tell me otherwise.

  6. Just more proof that you live in a backwards-ass region of the country. (I’m only 1/2 kidding.)

    I, single, unmarried, never married, thirtysomething, use Ms. Frankly, it is nobody’s damned business whether I am married or not, also none of their beeswax if I choose Ms. or Miss. They can kiss my butt.

  7. I put Ms on forms that make me have a prefix, as well.

    It’s simply incorrect for me to be Mrs. Flexa Gon… it would be correct (if dreadfully formal) to be called Mrs. Heisen Bug, but since my last name isn’t his last name, that’s just weird.

  8. !!!

    I’ve always insisted on “Ms.” — I changed my name when I got married the first time (by choice), I kept that name when I got divorced, and I *still* kept it when I got married again (because it had been my name for half my life at that point) . . . and no matter what last name I use, or what my marital status is, I’d like the honorific to reflect that I am female, but not make a statement as to my availability/state of ownership/etc.

    Kira and I had an interesting talk about this post in the car the other day, btw :)

    – A (who has been running around too much to actually comment, heh!)

  9. Miz has a strong southern history anyway – weird that anyone would object to it!

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