...to call myself "Mrs"?

(148 Posts)
LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:03:20

Am in my thirties, gay, single, with two DCs. I've never been married (my children were born thanks to a sperm bank).

I used to be very keen to call myself "Ms" in my twenties, but now I think "Mrs" maybe sounds more respectable/authoritative...in reality, I don't know that many women who go by "Ms" now (and it's tricky enough to pronounce...)

I find that the GP, Health Visitor etc address me as "Mrs" anyway.

My only reservation, besides not being sure if I am legally "allowed" to call myself "Mrs" if unmarried/not in a civil partnership, is whether it might lead even more people to imagine that I must have been deserted by a partner. When I can be bothered, I often find myself having to explain already that I'm a single mum by choice.

CockyFox Sat 16-Feb-13 20:23:38

Out of interest how do all the ladies who use Ms pronouce it, should it be Miz or Muz or something else, I always say Muz but have been told it should be Miz.

DontmindifIdo Sat 16-Feb-13 20:23:44

OP - because housekeepers and cooks in 'posh' houses were "Mrs XXX" regardless of marital status (it showed those where 'high status' woman's jobs - Mrs being more respectful than Miss). In the same way, some staff where only referred to by their first name, others only by their surname. When the went to another house, they'd be known as Mr/Mrs/Miss [their employers name].

OP - you could well find Mrs more respectable and authorititive because even though you've picked a relatively alternative lifestyle, you have still taken on the fact that an adult woman with children is more respectable if she's married. A woman who has 'bagged' a man is more authoriative than one who's failed to do so.

Miss or Ms is perfectly acceptable, the only issue with Mrs seeming 'little girl' comes from the idea you have to be married to be a 'proper grown up'.

(I however am a 'Mrs' and use it, but I didn't get married that young and didn't have a porblem with Miss before)

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:24:11

"just it is a weird word to pronounce, let's face it you don't hear as many people saying: "I was talking to Ms Smith the other day..." or whatever, it's just not that commonly used verbally. "

Hopefully that will change as more and more people get used to it.

BOF Sat 16-Feb-13 20:25:44

I don't see the problem with Ms, personally. It's just pronounced miz. I don't like the marital status connotations of Mrs and Miss past adulthood, so I have used Ms since I was 18, and I have never changed my surname. Which is very handy, as I'm too disorganised to remember who I'd need to write to if I did.

Zavi Sat 16-Feb-13 20:26:15

YABU in my opinion. I think the title Mrs is for the preserve of married or widowed women.

If you start to call yourself Mrs people will assume you are married to a man and there will come a day when somebody asks you about your husband. And you will both be embarrassed when you explain you are a gay single grin

Many women see no need to declare their marital status so publicly and prefer to refer to themselves as Ms and of course men NEVER need to declare their marital status in the same way.

I automatically have more respect for women who refer to themselves as Ms because to me it signals that they are more confident and self-respecting and happy to stick their head above the parapet.

How many married shrinking violets or doormats do you know who refer to themselves as Ms?

soverylucky Sat 16-Feb-13 20:28:12

I would stick with Miss tbh - who really cares whether someone is a miss/ms/mrs/married/single/straight/divorced/widowed.

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:28:48

If I don't want to bow to convention, then I will probably call myself "Mrs" as an unmarried, single mum! So long as it's not breaking any laws, and it doesn't seem to be...If we can make up the rules ourselves, which people on here seem to be doing, then I think I would rather be "Mrs", and it is less for my ideas of "respectability/authority" which are clearly just personal misconceptions judging by the responses here (-though there are more people here saying they don't like Miss as it seems immature - what was it that Simone De Beauvoir said about having to BECOME a woman but being BORN a man??!-), more because I find "Ms" so weird to pronounce and funny in conversation.

123rd Sat 16-Feb-13 20:29:02

Ha it's funny because I am married but NEVER call myself Mrs!! If asked my title I would say Mrs 123 but if asked for my name I'm always just first name and surname.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sat 16-Feb-13 20:29:48

I'd call myself what I liked if I were you!

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:29:58

YANBU. Pick whatever suits you.

I'm a Ms <married name> myself. Except when I'm a Miss <maiden name>.

I don't care what anyone thinks and I never feel obliged to explain myself.

I am a married Ms. I was a single Ms too.

I was stopped by a chugger the other week, and he asked my title and I said Ms. He asked me why, was I divorced or something (he was being nosy, but in a nice way - just interested) and I told him it was none of his business, just as him being a Mr and me not knowing his marital status is none of my business.

YABU. Mrs is not more authoritative or respectable. I hate it as it makes me feel like all I am in title is someone else's property.

CrunchyFrog Sat 16-Feb-13 20:31:52

I'm a Ms. And it's Ms my name, which I first took when I married XH but is now mine. Unless you only borrow it while married?

I was a Ms the whole way through my marriage too, I prefer it and always have.

Yama Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:01

I love Ms. Love it.

I don't feel the need to correct people when they call me Miss but blimey I do when they call me Mrs. I am married by the way.

However, I want to stick two fingers up to the notion that marriage makes me more respectable. Why on earth should a women need to feel more respectable because she has kids?

LineRunner Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:32

I have never found Ms weird to pronounce or funny in conversation but maybe that's just me.

It's Miz.

And frankly no-one should be having conversations about other people's marital status. If people give that much of a shit, I wouldn't be talking to them tbh.

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:49

The system that expects women to have to declare if they are married or not - and makes them feel status if they are - is wrong.

The question is whether it's better to refuse to go along with it by using Ms, or subvert it altogether by using Mrs when you aren't in fact married....

foxywoxy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:33:20

You could call yourself Mrs and say you are reclaiming what used to be the title for all adultwomen.

Back in the day, Miss was for girls, Mistress (Mrs) was the title for grown up women, married or not. The Miss/Mrs distinction which came later sought, and succeeded in infantilising by title all unmarried women.

It would have been far more radical for feminists to have reclaimed Mrs, and involved them in no less debate than Ms STILL does now.

I use Ms.

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 20:36:36

That's interesting foxy - not just more radical though, also a lot more practical. The problem at the moment is that it's hard for Ms to catch on, precisely because of the status that Mrs confers, meaning that married women are reluctant to give it up. But if unmarried adult women simply started using Mrs whether married or not, the distinction over whether a women is married or lost would simply be lost.

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:36:38

In Germany the convention has been to call all women (ie over 18) Frau instead of Fräulein because it's seen as patronising. I understand it's similar in France but women decide when they will become Madame and it's not dependent on marriage.

I think they may be on to something...

Bue Sat 16-Feb-13 20:37:52

I'm married and I'm a Ms (have a different name to DH and even if I'd taken his name I would still use it). However I'd have no problem with Mrs if, as a society, we decided that all grown women should use the title. Hate that it currently implies husbandly ownership though!

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:37:58

The replies on here are pretty mixed, YABU/YANBU at first glance, which is interesting to me.

DontmindifIdo I hadn't realized that usage of Mrs for people as chattels - can see now why some - JackieTheFart etc - avoid it for that reason.

Questions can come for either choice, I think. As Jackie says, you do get questioned for using "Ms" even if it's subtle/friendly questions such as "oh, are you on your own now" but as Zavi says people will assume there is an OH if I call myself "Mrs". At toddler groups etc, even amongst people who are trying not to be prejudiced/make assumptions, people nearly always assume your are straight/ in a relationship (in that order) just by the presence of your children. I think that will happen whatever I call myself, I don't usually go ahead immediately and tell people my sexuality and marital status in such situations, but inevitably people say, after a few toddler groups etc "Does your OH work?" or "What are you and your DP doing for Xmas" etc etc and I then correct them.

Jackie that's a good answer to questions re "Ms" that you have, though, polite but pointing out it's not relevant. It's usually women, not men, who ask though, in my experience!

Bue Sat 16-Feb-13 20:38:18

Oh, and I pronounce it Miz. I hate Muz!

foxywoxy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:10

I agree purpleroses, it would be a long haul, but if the Germans and French can do it, I live in hope.

Bogeyface Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:26

I have always been Ms <MaidenName> through three marriages!

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:45

Do people really ask if you're miss or mrs at toddler groups? <boggles>

wem Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:57

I use Ms. I pronounce it Muz I suppose, but don't often say it, only really goes on documentation.

I'd like it if we used Mrs for all adult women, like Frau or Mme (I think?)

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