Mr Mrs Miss Ms ---Asking for your support

(225 Posts)
PleaseCallMeMs Thu 12-Jun-14 23:05:00

"Ms" is a title that means "Miss or Mrs". It is the equivalent of "Mr", a title that can be used by any girl or lady that does not reveal anything about marital status. As some people put it, its short for "Mind your own businesS".

I have been trying for some time to get my bank to change my title from "Miss" to "Ms". When managing my account online, I cannot change my title directly. It defaults to "Miss" when I input my marital status as "with partner and children". I have emailed customer services a few times but got no reply. When I telephoned, the customer rep had to bring in "a specialist" to help out. They decided that I needed to take proof of my status to a branch to get my title changed!!!? When I asked what would be suitable proof that I'm a "Ms", they didn't know.

You may not think its a big deal, I'm not married and I should be happy with "Miss", but I really do find it offensive. I don't want to get married, but I'm in a committed relationship and I'm an older lady. I think its well within my rights to use the title of my preference and that our society should respect that. That's all I'm asking for. I agree it is only a little thing, but there is a deep issue here about the way we define women by their marital status. For example, a child will automatically know whether their female teachers are married or not, but won't have the same personal information to judge their male teachers. I believe that to create a truly equal society, it is important that we change the little things as well as the big things. Wouldn't it be better if, by default, when no information is known, a lady would be referred to as "Ms", instead of a guess being made about whether she is married or not? Those who wish to can, of course, use "Miss" or "Mrs". I'm not arguing that everyone should be forced to use "Ms". But those who want their marital status kept as their own business, should be able to do so.

There's been a few threads about "Ms" on Mumsnet in recent years. On one of them it was mentioned that someone should campaign about this. I thought I'd give it a go. So I've set up a twitter account in order to post about my experiences with the bank. I'd be glad if you would follow me, PleaseCallMeMs. I need a little momentum before I start to tweet to the bank's customer department. I'm hoping that if I get enough retweets, the bank will take notice! I'm new to twitter, so any advice will be gratefully received!!!

GoblinLittleOwl Thu 12-Jun-14 23:40:47

Your marital status is single, with illegitimate children; this may offend you but it is correct.

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 12-Jun-14 23:42:07

Shadows - I'm surprised so many people asked. Surely that's a good thing in your view. Most people assume the husbands name is taken.

FrOZenKidS Thu 12-Jun-14 23:42:26

I work in a bank, its not that we don't like/agree with/care about individuals choice of title its just that in the current climate where personalisation fraud is rife, ANY change of details on the system has to be documented and verified with specific ID.
very high level example but if your name was mrs sarah smith and your daughter is miss sarah smith and she got hold of a cheque in your name.. she could walk into bank and change her details to 'mrs' then 'legitimately' cash that cheque, causing untold issues. by asking for ID/proof etc for any change of personal details the banks are complicating the process for would be fraudsters and reducing cheque conversion fraud.
Imagine if some fradster emptied all your bank accounts and when you went into the bank they said that they had changed the details of your account to xyz on 'your' say so. thus enabling mrs fradster to walk away with all ur money. You would then want to know what the hell the bank was playing at! smile

On a personal note I agree with the whole mrs/miss/ms and being able to use what you want, but i get that banks just cant go about changing personal details whillynilly grin

Caff2 Thu 12-Jun-14 23:50:20

I have just made a fuss a little bit again at my DS1's school at being called Mrs X. I told them (again) Miss, Ms, My first name - all fine. Mrs Surname is my mother's name. They also often call my DP Mr Mysurname. Which is my dad.

heraldgerald Thu 12-Jun-14 23:51:08

Op I totally agree with you.

Goblin that was rather rude. If that is the letter of the law, it needs changing. The op is neither single, nor her children without legitimacy.

PhaedraIsMyName Thu 12-Jun-14 23:51:27

GoblinLittleOwl there is no status of illegitimacy of children under Scots Law.

I can't speak conclusively for English law but certainly for the purposes of nationality from 1st July 2006 the concept of illegitimacy no longer exists in British nationality.

AlpacaPicnic Thu 12-Jun-14 23:51:59

I have to input personal details on a computer database and always ask everybody, regardless of gender 'which title do you use?'
It's the safest way I think I can ask without making any assumptions about anybody's marital status or qualification. There is a drop down box of options which I can then show people and allow them to choose the one they prefer. We don't ask for any proof so if someone chooses Ms, Dr, professor or whatever, that's the one I select.

Sadly the computer will not permit me to continue without putting in a title. I have had some customers get annoyed with me when I tell them that I need it, but that is the way the program is written. I didn't write it, I just type into it. Please don't shout at me!

I agree that there should be an option to leave it blank if that is what people prefer, but there isn't - not my decision. I have been told, by a techy person that the reason is that the program was written in America, and they are used to referring to people in a much more formal way.

<disclaimer! I have no way of knowing whether that is true - it might be total bollocks. However I did hear some friends from Ohio talking to their parents and they almost always referred to their father as Sir, so it could be true...>

PhaedraIsMyName Thu 12-Jun-14 23:52:26

*heraldgerald x post. No it is not the law.

DenzelWashington Thu 12-Jun-14 23:53:34

Goblin isn't being rude, she's posting from the year 1872.

GoblinLittleOwl Thu 12-Jun-14 23:57:26

No, I am stating a fact.

5madthings Thu 12-Jun-14 23:58:12

Following, will find you on Twitter!

i agree too, but don't use Twitter.

FrozenKids - how would one set about proving a title change with no name change to a bank? I have an account which I've still got Miss on, but several other credit/debit cards, utility bills with Ms, would that do?

TakemedowntoPotatoCity Fri 13-Jun-14 00:00:38

Agree that in this day and age it's ridiculous that women have to put up with being defined by their marital status, and men don't. I am not married but feel too old to be a miss (and don't feel like one since having dd).

aliasjoey Fri 13-Jun-14 00:01:06

There is a reluctance from many people and businesses to change. I kept my maiden name after marriage, and until DS1 was about six. It caused so much offence among family, but I tried to ignore them.

I eventually 'gave in' because all 3 of us had different surnames, it just seemed easier to have one "family name" especially for school etc. I remember the GP receptionist always had trouble knowing who DS was. Although technically his surname is double-barrelled, he only uses part of it.

I hope things will change as the country becomes more multicultural. I eventually decided I had other issues to focus on, and after so many years flying the feminist flag, it was time to let a younger generation pick up the baton...

EBearhug Fri 13-Jun-14 00:01:32

I did fill in an online form with n/a in the title box, as it was freetext, but couldn't be blank.

My order arrived, addressed to "n/a E Bearhug".

SoonToBeSix Fri 13-Jun-14 00:03:25

Ms sounds pretentious and ridiculous.

You are being utterly reasonable - you should be able to choose the title you wish. I prefer to be called Mrs, but I believe it should be a matter of personal choice - it is arrogant of any institution to think they can decide what title you can or cannot use.

And I don't think it should be beyond the wit of mortal man - or indeed computer - to make this small but important change.

TentUpFirstBunkUpLater Fri 13-Jun-14 00:05:43

I am married

I have kept my name

My name is Miss Clara Bow (the name I have always been known by)

I do not need to change anything and will not including title

Sometimes I get called Mrs Clara Bow and that does not bother me

All of my official documentation is in the name of Miss Clara Bow.

My parents are dead and it is important for me to be Miss Clara Bow nutter I know

*names have been changed*

EBearhug Fri 13-Jun-14 00:07:34

Of course it's not beyond the abilities of a computer; it's down to the programmers making it a compulsory field - but the'll be coding it to the specs they've been given.

I wouldn't wish to se Miss and Mrs disappear totally, but I look forward to the day where the default is Ms if no other preference has been expressed.

EBearhug Fri 13-Jun-14 00:08:26

*the'll -> they'll

EATmum Fri 13-Jun-14 00:09:01

I used to be involved in CRB checks and we got a load back that were rejected because each person had claimed to be a Ms (shock) but didn't have an entry in the 'previous surname' box. After long conversations with the relevant office, we had to repeat the surname in the 'previous surname' box for the computer not to automatically reject a Ms without a previous name. I ask you ...
I have been a Ms always, single and married. That status is my business, no one else's.

PhaedraIsMyName Fri 13-Jun-14 00:09:34

I don't mind much whether I get Ms or Miss. I kept my name. I can't stand Mrs.

IsChippyMintonExDirectory Fri 13-Jun-14 00:10:01

Agree with you 100% OP I am married and I am a Ms I feel it's extremely important to be identified as me not my marital status, feminists fought very hard for the right to use Ms. I can relate, banks are a pain in the arse but the worst offenders are when you fill out new forms the smarmy prick who serves you always acts as if it's an error and cannot for the life of them understand why I don't just use mrs.

It is possible to be an officially recognised Ms and you should escalate the complaint further with your bank and anywhere else that ignores your requests

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Fri 13-Jun-14 00:10:04

You're stating an irrelevant fact, though. The OP isn't claiming that she's married; she wants to be recorded with the (perfectly appropriate) title Ms. So telling her that her marital status is single is about as relevant as telling us what you had for breakfast this morning.

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