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!!!

divingoffthebalcony Thu 12-Jun-14 23:07:17

Totally agree with you - I hate that there's such a stigma around using "Ms" (people usually think it's pretentious / sounds ugly, etc).

ballsballsballs Thu 12-Jun-14 23:08:10

I use 'Ms', and am always pissed off when I'm forced to use 'Miss' or 'Mrs'. I shouldn't have to announce my marital status via my title.

I've only got about 10 Twitter followers so can't offer help, but wish you luck with your campaign. flowers and [solidarity fist bump]

LadySybilVimes Thu 12-Jun-14 23:11:07

Personally I would like us to use Miss until 18 and then Mrs afterwards. I hate the term Ms. I just think it sounds awful. Not enough vowels for me.

However I completely agree with the principle.

I am also not good with twitter so can't give any advice on that front.

Elledouble Thu 12-Jun-14 23:12:30

I use Ms too - I'm divorced and never got round to changing my name back from my married surname. Miss MarriedName would be silly, as would continuing to use Mrs MarriedName. And I'm buggered if I can be bothered to go back to Miss MaidenName after all this time.

My bank has been fine with my change of title, although they have as yet failed to issue me with a bank card with Ms on. Likewise the DVLA with my driving license.

rinabean Thu 12-Jun-14 23:13:17

Banks are really weird about it. Lots of people think I'm Miss or Mrs and I correct them and they're fine with it - all kinds of officials. But banks won't budge. Why??

stickygotstuck Thu 12-Jun-14 23:14:47

I couldn't agree more.
I had the exact same issue about 7 years ago. My bank told me they needed to see my marriage certificate (!) To change my title from Miss to Ms. I told them that didn't make sense and was met with balnk stares and patronising disbelief.

I must admit, I just gave up.

Personally, I think Miss and Mrs should quietely fall into disuse. As far as I'm concernes, everybody should be a Ms or a Mr. Children included!

Janethegirl Thu 12-Jun-14 23:15:19

I'd prefer to use none of these terms. My first name followed by my family name (being v politically correct here) is sufficient. As long as you are required to tick male/female/other what does it matter. Actually I don't think the male/female etc bit is relevant either. Your name should be sufficient.

Raeray Thu 12-Jun-14 23:18:28

I must admit I always thought you were Miss until you married and became a Mrs and if then if you got divorced you became a Ms? Maybe I made that up! grin

ScarlettDragon Thu 12-Jun-14 23:20:15

I completely agree with you! I've just followed you on Twitter and retweeted a few of your tweets.

IneedAwittierNickname Thu 12-Jun-14 23:20:41

I always seem to have the opposite problem in that people assume I'm Ms because I'm unmarried and have dc.
When I say I am Miss, and want to be referred to as such I have been told I am wrong confused

Yanbu. We should be able to use the prefix we prefer!

flappityfanjos Thu 12-Jun-14 23:20:56

I'm a married Ms. Mylastname. This has fried a few people's brain circuits in the five years I've been married. It's 20fucking14. This isn't a new concept any more.

I've actually just checked - I'm Ms. on my Halifax credit card and Miss on my Halifax debit card... <sigh>

Another one rubbish with twitter BUT I feel very strongly about this. In fact, if the bank that held my accounts couldn't get my name right (yes, I would be that pedantic) then I would move my money to a bank that could.

I fail to understand why there are still so many options. I like Ms but made the error of going with Mrs when I first got married. Rather stuck with it now.

EBearhug Thu 12-Jun-14 23:21:36

I prefer not to use any title at all, but that's almost never an option. I do prefer Ms to Miss. I can't actually remember what the bank currently has.

I did object to my director calling me Mr Pedantic the other day. (I had already admitted to pedantry, but I'm not changing my sex. He did apologise. I think I made him feel worse than I should have, given I knew it was a typo.)

PhaedraIsMyName Thu 12-Jun-14 23:21:52

I have 4 accounts with 2 (use to be) Scottish banks. All 4 accounts and associated cards have "Ms" Never had a problem.

ICanSeeTheSun Thu 12-Jun-14 23:23:01

Raeray I thought that too.

Ms what a divorced women's title.

PhaedraIsMyName Thu 12-Jun-14 23:26:45

I must admit I always thought you were Miss until you married and became a Mrs and if then if you got divorced you became a Ms?

I find it depressing that anyone could think that. Is a woman's status in the marriage market really so important ?

Helpys Thu 12-Jun-14 23:27:21

I say 'why do you need to know?' when companies ask me to specify any title.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 12-Jun-14 23:33:41

YANBU, at all. I hate receiving post addressed to Miss 'Shadows Collide'. I always refer to myself as Ms Shadows Collide. Just looked at my ATM card, and yup, I'm Miss Shadows Collide on that. Really must change it. On my Boots and health insurance cards I'm Ms, on my Tesco card I'm Mr confused, and on my loyalty card for an off-licence chain blush I'm just Shadows Collide, no prefix.

In the secondary school that I went to, female teachers were only to be referred to as Mrs or Miss, never Ms. Unbelievably outdated, but then this was a school that only started allowing female teachers to wear trousers in 1997 shock.

I'm getting married soon-ish, and plan on staying Ms MyName. Which I would have thought would be of no consequence to anyone, yet I was amazed at the number of people, when we got engaged, asked right away 'so Shadows, are you changing your name?'. Not just older relatives either, friends my age. Then they were all shocked when I told them that I wasn't. It's 20 fucking 14.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 12-Jun-14 23:35:05

Oh, flappityfanjos, seemingly we both think that its 20 fucking 14 grin.

coalscuttle Thu 12-Jun-14 23:36:03

I have just followed you too ��

coalscuttle Thu 12-Jun-14 23:37:46

I am almost divorced. Don't want to go back to my maiden name as that would seem weird to me after all this time - also I want to have the same surname as DS. It's not the surname i object to, it's the Mrs.

Onesleeptillwembley Thu 12-Jun-14 23:38:36

My bank details have always been 'one s tillwembley.
First name, initial, surname.
I had to ask them to change it originally, but still have it. Guess it's obvious I'm female but that's not a problem - I am female, and that's my name.

stickygotstuck Thu 12-Jun-14 23:39:59

Helpys 'Why do you need to know?'

I have used that reply in more than one occasion! Half of the time it's 'computer says no though...

Luggagecarousel Thu 12-Jun-14 23:40:44

I have the opposite problem. Everything I'm on seems to default to Ms, and I am very proud of being a MISS!

I agree everyone should have a choice.

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.

I didn't have any problem with having Ms Birthsurname on my CRB check.

TentUpFirstBunkUpLater Fri 13-Jun-14 00:12:53

Exactly. I can call myself what I want. Why my status is relevant to my title I'll never know.

none of anyone's fucking business

EurotrashGirl Fri 13-Jun-14 00:15:25

My bank card just has my name on it. No title. I'm not sure why a title is necessary on a bank card.

Szeli Fri 13-Jun-14 00:17:21

I also thought traditionally Ms was for a divorcee, I remember my mother throwing a fit and refusing to switch from mrs as she didn't want all and sundry knowing she had a failed marriage behind her ...

I suppose it's the same in reverse now Ms has been mostly reclaimed by those wanting not to disclose marital status.

Pleasecallmems in light of what the bank worker said, could you not close your account and immediately reopen one as Ms? This gets around the need for proof of change of title if you haven't changed it 'legally'

TentUpFirstBunkUpLater Fri 13-Jun-14 00:18:25

I could have a title of Jedi Master or Dr

How would they relate that to my marital status or my sex?


bear just because I like him

NeedsAsockamnesty Fri 13-Jun-14 00:20:40

My bank defaults me to miss when I always check the Ms box or write it.

I am married (granted I haven't uttered a word to the man for well over 3 years or Clapped eyes on him but married I am)

Nocomet Fri 13-Jun-14 00:21:07

I'm very happy being Mrs, I'm old and traditional, but I don't see why women can't choose what ever title they like.

Ms does sound odd to me, I'm afraid. Although I agree it does feel odd addressing letters to my 43y DSIS as Miss and getting post addressed the same way for my teen DDs.

Personally I'd much rather just be No Comet, no title at all. Most of the time my gender and marital status are utterly irrelevant to the business in hand.

Oh and IME banks are spectacularly useless at customer service.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Fri 13-Jun-14 00:22:03

It's not about "reclaiming" it. It's never signified a divorcee.

The New York Times has a piece on the history of "Ms" as a title, if anyone is interested.

EBearhug Fri 13-Jun-14 00:22:18

I can see why it can help to indicate if you're male or female on a bank card - if you use it in a shop in person, if your card says Mr P Smith and you're clearly Ms/Miss/Mrs, it would suggest fraudulent use. Although I am not sure anyone checks cards that closely - you stick it in the reader and do your PIN.

OK, so it doesn't need it on the card, because as the transaction goes through, it could trigger an extra check - cardholder is female, and shop assistant has to confirm. Although if you've got someone who's androgynous, getting it wrong would cause embarrassment.

So it doesn't need it on the card at all.

MeganGriffin Fri 13-Jun-14 00:23:44

Im a Ms on my bank account, on my passport, whenever I get asked if I'm mrs or miss I also say I'm "ms". I've never had a single problem.

What bank is this please OP?

I think the problem you're encountering is purely down to a "status change" - it's all a bit "computer say no"

I can't remember an incidence online where I haven't been able to check Ms as an option - and I would remember because it would have fucked me right off.

I've also never been derided as choosing Ms as my status, on the phone, in person or in my imagination. I ALWAYS use Ms as my suffix and I've never, ever had a problem...because people generally don't give a fuck, and if they do then fuck them, right?

herethereandeverywhere Fri 13-Jun-14 00:25:18

I specified Ms on the day I opened my student bank account in 1995. I identified with the equality argument back then (a man's title doesn't distinguish marital status) and have felt the same ever since. Got married, had kids, no one at the bank got involved in asking for forms/ certificates or any other general busybodying. My Natwest card still has Ms on it.

ComposHat Fri 13-Jun-14 00:25:43

Blimey three pages of comments on titles and no one has said 'Debretts says blah blah blah' as if it actually meant anything.

How My bank card has I.T. Botham on it, my credit card has Ian T. Botham and my driving licence is Ian Terrance Botham.* Not a title in sight. This caused my sister much angst as she had completed her PhD and was desperate to update everything with her new status. If we did away with needless stuffy formalities then it would solve a lot of problems.

I don't see a problem with addressing formal letters as 'Dear Ian Botham' rather than Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss Botham.

* I am not actually Ian Botham.

MeganGriffin Fri 13-Jun-14 00:28:07

Hello Ian - I really hated those shredded wheat ads - you twat

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Fri 13-Jun-14 00:31:18

Onesleep, you're right actually. I hadn't thought of it like that. I had assumed that they were asking in a 'you'll take your DP's name, won't you' way, when they could have been asking 'will you take your DP's name or keep yours?'. Some definitely did ask the first question straight up (mostly older relatives), lots didn't. Still think it's a bit strange though, when a friend tells you that they are engaged and your first question is 'are you changing your name'?

OP, I have followed you on Twitter, also. Mind you, I hardly use it and have about 9 followers, so I'm not exactly a voice that is heard by many wink.

BasketzatDawn Fri 13-Jun-14 00:38:25

Sorry, need to sleep so can't read whole thread tonight. smile But what you need as 'evidence ' is several pieces of post sent to you as Ms. Just as you would if changing other aspects of your name. You are right to be annoyed. All the best. I don't do Twitter so can't help with that.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 13-Jun-14 00:46:11

As much as I love the UK, I have to say that we Americans are much more advanced on this issue.

First of all, Ms. is very common and tends to be the default title for all adult women, married or not, especially in a professional context.

Secondly, banks and other commercial enterprises don't require titles. None of my banking information has a title on it, just my name. Letters from the bank say Dear Firstname Surname (in the Quaker fashion though I am sure that's not the reason). Titles are obviously much more important in the UK, but you have a lot more titles than we do (Lord, Lady, Sir, Dame, etc.); perhaps that has something to do with it.

mathanxiety Fri 13-Jun-14 00:46:58

I agree 100% with your proposition. I have always been able to use Ms in the US, both married and divorced. The UK seems really behind with the insistence on Miss or Mrs.

I don't know how your comment is relevant to the question of a woman being able to use Ms or Mrs or Miss, Goblin.

mathanxiety Fri 13-Jun-14 00:59:04

I think titles are seen as a quaint courtesy in the US. You rarely encounter them.

kickassangel Fri 13-Jun-14 01:25:34

I live in the US and agree that titles are used less and when they are Ms is far more acceptable.

GarlicJuneBlooms Fri 13-Jun-14 01:37:50

How do you pronounce it? I always said "Mizz" but kept getting things back with "Miss" written down. Now I say "Muzz" - which works a bit better, though I've had several phone calls asking for M.S. Juneblooms.

... Oh, and some automated voice messages for "Manuscript Juneblooms" grin

GarlicJuneBlooms Fri 13-Jun-14 01:41:41

It's actually short for Mistress, isn't it? The female equivalent of Mister.

PhaedraIsMyName Fri 13-Jun-14 01:44:10

You Americans are in line with most of Europe then as in Madame , Frau , Mevrouw, Fru. And good on the lot of you.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 13-Jun-14 03:08:03

I say Miz. In the US, we don't have the problem of people hearing Miss because Ms is so common.

catsofa Fri 13-Jun-14 03:43:50

After a conversation with my (divorced but none of your business) mother at the age of about 8, I have ALWAYS, yes in every single instance ever, GIVEN my name as Ms (meaning none of your business, as explained if asked). My main bank calls me Ms, but some other companies inexplicably have me down as Miss.

Yes there does need to be a campaign. Let's start with naming the companies, and see if any in particular are consistently messing this up.

Co-op bank = Ms
Nat West = Miss
Southern Electric = Ms

These are the ones I can see from my desk, I will add more later as they send me bills/statements etc.

For the record I have an unusual surname so there won't be any confusion potential with anyone else, and of course I don't have any documentation to say I've been married, divorced or anything else, since I never have.

Re: pronunciation I always say "Ms, as in emm ess", so any confusion has definitely been the result of things having been changed or assumed by the company. I really have always done this since I was a child so I'm confident that no companies have been told to call me Miss at any point in my life.

Will resurect my defunct twitter account to follow you, PleaseCallMeMs.

I've been Ms since my teens and I'm in my 30's now. I've never had an issue with my bank accepting that, although I opened the account as Ms so perhaps that's why

Gennz Fri 13-Jun-14 03:55:25

I've been Ms since I was 10. I am in my 30s now. Am married but that's irrelevant - I was Ms wehn I was single, living with a partner, and engaged. That's why I like it - I can't tell anything about a man's relationship status from Mr and I expect an equivalent title.

Timpetill Fri 13-Jun-14 04:16:10

I'm a Ms. I think titles are old fashioned and it's only in official forms etc that I encounter it in relation to my name, I associate it with old people. I am forrin though, and we are known for our more casual approach to everything addressing people

IamRechargingthankYou Fri 13-Jun-14 06:35:21

I'm a Miss and ds has my name and I often correct the assumed Mrs. My 2 dsis were married - my little bastard (re - upthread) is the only one that has carried on the family name.

I like Miss because it sounds a bit quirkily old-fashioned and will suit my envisaged retirement as the odd old lady in the purple hat. And for some reason, possibly rooted in 1970s feminism, I am proud of my never-married status and like to declare it.

Ms isn't for me but if you want to be called it that's totally fine.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 13-Jun-14 06:42:27

I agree that everyone should have a choice but I can't stand Ms. My marital status isn't a secret. It makes it sound as if Mrs is superior to Miss in some way.

I ask female friends who are getting married if they will be changing their name, partly because I am always hopeful that the response will be "no, of course not" and partly so that I don't make the error of calling them the wrong name afterwards. I wish a few more people had asked me so that they would get mine right, I always get a few birthday cards addressed to the non-existent Mrs DHSurname.

meditrina Fri 13-Jun-14 07:00:07

I became a Ms when still at school.

I really couldn't see why marital status mattered, and whenever possible used just initials and surname.

I've stayed a Ms throughout may adult life and it's never been a hassle (both in terms of people dealing with it, and also never having the admin fuss of changing it). I don't mind being Mrs DHname socially though, and some teachers will always call a female parent 'Mrs DCname'

Floisme Fri 13-Jun-14 07:17:32

I'm married, in my fifties and I'm a Miss. The problem with Ms - in my opinion - is that there are already too many titles for women, compared to men, so why make it worse by adding another one? Why not just stuck with the title you are born with - like men do?

Out of interest I had a look at my bank cards. I am Mrs Q Louisiana (married name) on my bank account (joint account Mrs Q Louisiana and Mr K O Louisiana) but Q Louisiana on the credit card issued by the same bank.
I not fussed, I am married, I use Mrs and my Dh's name, bu now I'm intrigued by the difference.

ComposHat Fri 13-Jun-14 07:36:36

Hello Ian - I really hated those shredded wheat ads - you twat

What about my ceaseless walks for charity and the stylish tache and mullet combo which I loyally sported way past the point when it was fashionable?

Fatmanbuttsam Fri 13-Jun-14 07:51:41

I'm a Ms but when it comes to doing online forms when you get a choice of title I pick something different every time......I've been everything from Doctor to Miss with a 'lady' and 'baron' thrown in for good measure.....I will alternate between male and female titles because for the vast majority of these forms the prefix is irrelevant to what you are trying to do....

eurochick Fri 13-Jun-14 07:56:25

I support the campaign but I'm not on twitter.

I've been a Ms since my schooldays and had no problem with it. One bank did have me as Miss for a while (they had filled out my forms while I was sitting with an advisor and didn't ask for my title only marital status). They had no issue with changing it (contrary to the post by the bank worker above) but it took a few goes as changing it in one place meant my statements were right but my bank card was still wrong and so on. It all got sorted though.

OwlCapone Fri 13-Jun-14 08:08:57

Personally, I couldn't give a stuff what people call themselves.

There often seems to be a little bit of sneeriness involved when people talk about women choosing to change their name/title upon marriage though.

MsVenus Fri 13-Jun-14 08:17:48

I am Msmaiden name but the school insists on calling me MrsMaiden name which is silly because that's what my mother is known as. The school havent accepted that I can be MsMaiden name and be married at the same time.

DogCalledRudis Fri 13-Jun-14 08:18:47

I was aware of this when i first arrived in UK. Always been Ms.

Andcake Fri 13-Jun-14 08:21:33

Ms - married, divorced, living with DP - hate the fact that strangers need to know my marital status.
In my first job back in the 90's I had to in put people's names into a database after they had written in to ask to be on the database. It really annoyed me that men in general wouldn't even bother with mr but just assume one would assume they we're make by default.
In the later stage of the job there were a lot of people who had written in as 'j smith' who were added to the database as Mswink

grumblepuss Fri 13-Jun-14 08:49:29

I'm Ms at work. Miss elsewhere as I haven't been bothered to change it and it looks like the bank might throw a sulk if I try.
I hate Miss though. It makes me sound like I'm about 7.

Interestingly Ryanair only have a Ms option when you enter details. smile

CrumblyMumbly Fri 13-Jun-14 09:03:08

Change your bank - you shouldn't have to justify yourself to change your title to Ms. Write a strongly worded letter to the highest level pointing out how stupid this is. I have been Ms for years would rather not even have a title - am C Mumbly on bank account with no fuss at all. DC have DP's surname - it's 2014, it should not be an issue what we want to be addressed as!

TCforTopCat Fri 13-Jun-14 09:15:07

I have just followed you on twitter.
Always given my name as Ms Surname.
When I got married I did not change my name.
It annoys me when you speak to call centres and they ask 'Miss, Mrs?', they always seem surprised when I answer Ms.
Surely there must be lots if women who prefer it.
I really don't mind what choices other women make, I just feel that there should be a choice grin

Igggi Fri 13-Jun-14 09:22:12

I have a number of bank accounts and they can all handle a "Ms". What strange behaviour!

aurynne Fri 13-Jun-14 09:30:47

I find titles ridiculous. I am fine with my name and family name, thanks. If anyone insists, I choose Dr. Happy to send a copy of my PhD if they are bothered about it.

Harry1603 Fri 13-Jun-14 09:38:15

You should be able to use whatever title you choose. Personally I like being Mrs and, before I was married, Miss and used to correct anyone who called me Ms.

londonrach Fri 13-Jun-14 09:39:57

I agree. I hate ms I'm not a bumblebee. I'm a miss till married then mrs after. It's insulting to say mssssssssssss

Verynearlytea Fri 13-Jun-14 09:41:25

I'm with the folks who are over the whole title thing but if I have to put something it has always been Ms. for as long as I can remember picking my own title. My young daughter is always Ms. too (if some authority requires it).

I am constantly agog at people thinking Ms. is anything other than the sensible modern option. But can also appreciate that we should be free to pick whatever we want.

I would support a campaign but I'm not on twitter, are you gong to use some other social network?

Harry1603 Fri 13-Jun-14 09:41:45

Love the bumblebee comparison!

HauntedNoddyCar Fri 13-Jun-14 09:43:36

I agree but am surprised. I've been using Ms for years and years and everything has Ms on it. From my bank stuff to my loyalty cards. Never an issue.

The explanation on the bank fraud thing is strange too. I have some shares inherited from a relative that my dinosaur of a df put into my name as Miss. The bank have always accepted them and similarly when people decide I must be Mrs, they've accepted those too.

The title really should be decorative rather than integral to your identity

Ludways Fri 13-Jun-14 09:47:23

I'm totally in a quandary with this one, on one hand I hate the Miss/Mrs thing labelling us, however Ms isn't actually short for anything and that offends the pedant in me, lol

I'd be furious at the bank if they didn't change it though.

pyttipanne Fri 13-Jun-14 09:48:36

Personally, I like Mrs- but I still think women should get to choose whichever title they want!

When I got married last year DH and I decided (for various reasons) that HE would take my name (which annoyingly had to be done by deedpoll because he is a man hmm)
I still wanted to be a Mrs, so I took my marriage certificate to my bank to change my title... after a very frustrating hour I was assured by the female manager that it was impossible for me to be Mrs MaidenName as all women have to take their husbands surname on marriage BY LAW!! I must be Mrs HusbandsName or I would be committing some sort of crime!

I was so angry that I walked out. Later I made a complaint and got a very apologetic phone call and my title changed successfully...

Maybe I was unlucky... and I did get what I wanted in the end... but I still can't believe what happened, and it felt so much worse that it was another woman saying these things!

It IS 20-fucking-14, why is this still an issue!?!?

Exactly, pytti, why on earth is this STILL an issue in 2014?

I've followed you on twitter.

I've been married and divorced several times, but I've always been a Ms. It's not that hard to pronounce, surely?

HauntedNoddyCar Fri 13-Jun-14 10:01:28

The dividend cheques are issued to Miss. Sorry that was unclear

FartyMcGhee Fri 13-Jun-14 10:08:52

My building society (Halifax) changed my Mortgage account (Which is in just my name) to my married name when my husband and I opened a joint account with them!

sashh Fri 13-Jun-14 10:11:20


That explains why I have a 'previous name' on my DBS.

My driving licence still says Miss, when I renewed my photocard last year I looked at changing it to Ms, but it would have been a lot of extra effort according to the small print on the form, so I let it go. I'd rather get called Miss in error than Mrs for some reason, probably because Mrs pre-supposes that you changed your name.

Igggi Fri 13-Jun-14 10:20:58

Londonrach, in what way is it an insult to say Ms? confused

HazleNutt Fri 13-Jun-14 10:21:05

The bank fraud explanation does not make sense - I am absolutely free to choose if I want to call myself Miss, Mrs or Ms. Mrs, wheter you are married or not and whether you kept your own name or not.

So what document exactly should I, according to banks, produce, if I one day decide to use Ms instead of Miss?

sezamcgregor Fri 13-Jun-14 10:27:40

My idea was that people default to Ms when they do not know are too scared to ask whether to you are married or not

Ms to me also suggests professional spinster - the sort that have a career and miss out the getting married/having children stuff. Women opt to be a Ms when they divorce as they are "too old" to be a Miss

Miss is for unmarried women and children

Boys can be "Master" but still abbreviated to Mr

PleaseCallMeMs Fri 13-Jun-14 10:29:38

I'm surprised and delighted at the response thanks.

FrOZenKidS I really don't think this is an issue about security. I do telephone and internet banking, and I can change my personal details by these methods. So I can, for example, change my address. And I can change my title from "Miss" to "Mrs" by changing my marital status. I don't need to prove who I am in person to do these things. What is more, the customer rep didn't want proof of who I am. My passport wouldn't do, for example, because it doesn't have a title on it. She wanted proof that I'm a "Ms". I think that involves lifting my skirt up grin.

MeganGriffin The bank is HSBC.

Szeli I am sure I could easily open a new account with "Ms". But I've had this original account since I was 7 years old or so, and I also have a joint account with my partner. I'd have to change the whole lot of direct debits and paychecks etc. What I'd like to do is instead get the bank to change their system so that a woman's title doesn't automatically default from marital status.

Quangle Fri 13-Jun-14 10:31:27

Completely agree with this.

I had the infuriating experience recently of filling out a form for us as a family. The only truthful option for me was Miss, along with my 7 year old DD (no Ms option). Whilst my 4 year old son got to be Mister because there was no Master option.

Unmarried men would not accept being referred to as Master - which is the corollary to Miss.

WalkingThePlank Fri 13-Jun-14 10:38:00

Hi, have just followed you on Twitter. Good luck from a fellow Ms.

eurochick Fri 13-Jun-14 10:39:13

Please it was HSBC that accidentally had me as Miss and took a while to change it (mentioned in my earlier post on here), but did without requiring any proof. It just took a while as changing it on one system didn't change it elsewhere.

Xenadog Fri 13-Jun-14 11:04:26

Another "Ms" here who is sick of being asked if I am divorced. I just like my marital status to be as anonymous as a man's "Mr". Why should anyone know if I am married or not in this day and age? Plus, I'm also in a committed long term relationship but don't want to marry DP and as I'm not a young thing either I feel "Miss" doesn't serve me as a title.

It really gets my goat.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 13-Jun-14 11:13:29

Another one here who thinks ms = divorced

Miss = Unmarried (with virginal overtones)
Mrs = Married (not virgin)
Ms. =,divorced (not virgin,not married, somehow sullied)

I have no idea where I have picked this up from - Jane Austen maybe. I'm obviously not the only one and this is why I would be uncomfortable being a ms. I am an unmarried mother so I usually select Miss.

I agree with those suggesting we just ditch titles though - they are very unnevessary .

Ms is certainly convenient for divorcees. But it's not a rule, and it covers more than "just" divorcees. I don't think it existed in Austen's time.

Lovecat Fri 13-Jun-14 11:16:35

Pytti, I had an identical conversation with a female bank clerk some 23 years ago when I got married! "It's the LAW!"

I wonder if it's the same woman, promoted...?

I've always been a Ms (and funnily enough it's always women who question it. I was actually once asked 'Why?' on the phone when giving my details. I told her it was because my marital status was irrelevant to whether or not I could rent a telly (<--- see, that's how ancient I am!) and she got reeeeally huffy with me).

My bank cards all say L. Cat. No title. Which imho is as it should be.

Btw, people have said they feel like a child when addressed as Miss. Does anyone else feel like they've somehow transmogrified into Hyacinth Bucket when addressed as 'Madam'? It makes my skin crawl!

I vote for "Modom" as an alternative appellation!

elfycat Fri 13-Jun-14 11:27:33

I've been Ms for a while now (married but kept my name). My bank account is still in Miss as one of the reasons not to name change is that I couldn't be bothered with additional paperwork, so I left it.

Filing out forms for my DDs I have found myself automatically entering Ms for them, they are 3 and 5 years old. It got picked up by -a mysogynistic fart-- the cashier at the bank, who belittled me, so I gave him my best stare. They are now officially Ms with the bank.

Quangle Fri 13-Jun-14 11:29:51

I also hate it when Thames Water (for example) ask me if they can call me by my first name. It feels really awkward saying "No, it's Ms Quangle" but actually I don't think they should ask. They should just assume it's Ms Quangle until I say to them, "oh please do call me Philomena" (ie, never).

Especially since they are ripping me off, the blood-sucking bastards.

RedToothBrush Fri 13-Jun-14 11:39:34

I am so pleased to see so many other people who have had similar problems to me.

FrOZenKidS I really don't think this is an issue about security. I do telephone and internet banking, and I can change my personal details by these methods. So I can, for example, change my address. And I can change my title from "Miss" to "Mrs" by changing my marital status. I don't need to prove who I am in person to do these things. What is more, the customer rep didn't want proof of who I am. My passport wouldn't do, for example, because it doesn't have a title on it. She wanted proof that I'm a "Ms". I think that involves lifting my skirt up

My current bank asked me the same thing, and insisted I show them a marriage certificate. I was extremely pissed off at this and the hassle it caused. It made me feel like a liar and to this day I don't understand why they legally had to see it. As it was they still pulled a face as my marriage certificate is not British.

I wish I hadn't bothered and taken the complaint further at the time when I look back at it. If I hadn't had a good experience with them for years apart from this, I probably would have considered changing banks.

When I renewed my credit card I tried to change my title. In the end I settled with just using my initials as it was proving such a nightmare.

Nationwide tried to change my name without my permission and told me I LEGALLY HAD TO change my name on marriage. I no longer bank with them as it was the icing on the cake of being shit.

I think they should ask, I am more than happy to be called by my first name, especially if it gets round the "assuming I'm Mrs because when I called I gave my name as Firstname Surname" business.

RedToothBrush Fri 13-Jun-14 11:43:19

Oh and even though I have changed my title with my bank, my online account still hasn't changed.

I just went to my online banking to see if I could change from Miss to Ms. The only option is a change of name form, which requires marriage certificate, divorce certificate or whatever. I will go in and ask next time I am in a town with a branch (which will be a long time as they've all changed to TSB).

Mim78 Fri 13-Jun-14 11:49:07

I am a ms.

But frankly I think there should be just one title for all adult women. Or why have titles at all what purpose do they serve? Unless you've worked hard to become a doctor I suppose and want to show it off!

GarlicJuneBlooms Fri 13-Jun-14 11:59:11

I agree that everyone should have a choice - I don't! Well, not unless you want to introduce three automatic options for men as well: "Would that be Mister, Master or Murr?"

Meanwhile, I like Fatman's scattergun approach and may resume that myself grin

It's bloody ridiculous, though. My bank demanded marriage and divorce certificates, because they insisted my personal account name had to change when we opened a joint account - hang your head, NatWest! - and the ex had made a fuss about the joint account being Mr & Mrs Fuckingtwat. Now I'm back to normality; my card says Garlic J Blooms, and they address letters to Ms G.J. Blooms.

I want to live in the forrin place that doesn't use titles smile

elfycat Fri 13-Jun-14 11:59:25

grin RedToothBrush it was Nationwide that put Ms on the children's accounts.

Back in the day <<old gimmer alert>> Ms was devised to be an alternative to Mrs when someone divorced.
So if you were Miss Jones and became Mrs Smith, you wouldn't want to be Miss Jones with children. So Ms Smith.
It was back in the 80s grin

I am Mrs. I'm not Ms.
And it's really awkward with older patients who get really narked if I call them the wrong thing (if their status hasn't been updated on their records)

Some don't like being addressed by wrong title.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 13-Jun-14 12:24:43

Ms isn't actually short for anything

It's short for Mistress. The idea is to replace the other two abbreviations for Mistress, which are Mrs and Miss, with one that does not refer to marital status. Ms parallels Mr by taking the first and last letters of the word for the abbreviation.

HazleNutt Fri 13-Jun-14 12:27:38

"My idea was that people default to Ms when they do not know are too scared to ask whether to you are married or not" - but why would people need to know that in the first place? If the situation in question has special "married women" and "single women" options, then I could understand (although can't think of any such situations at the moment), but otherwise?

Harry1603 Fri 13-Jun-14 12:34:11

To the poster who said we shouldn't have a choice - why should other peoples' choices be forced on me? No one made me change my name, I chose to. Surely my decision should be respected in the same way that I respect those who chose not to change their name, to double barrel, for the husband to change his name?

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 13-Jun-14 12:51:05

Back in the day <<old gimmer alert>> Ms was devised to be an alternative to Mrs when someone divorced.

You are wrong. As a PP noted, this New York Times piece is a good source for the history of Ms.

I don't do twitter but do support you.

I am Ms Slattery and am very happily married to my husband Mr Slattery - I just don't see what that has to do with anyone else.

CarmineRose1978 Fri 13-Jun-14 12:55:49

The only time I insist on my real title is when I'm asked "Is it Miss or Mrs?". My answer is "It's Doctor, actually" (otherwise I generally go by Ms). The customer service always improves markedly... which is also pretty problematic, when you think about it.

CarmineRose1978 Fri 13-Jun-14 12:58:36

Regarding the proper titles for a divorced woman, I was taught this:

Miss Susan Williams marries Mr John Smith.
She then becomes Mrs John Smith.
If they get divorced, she is then Mrs Susan Smith.

I think that's pretty archaic though.

Floisme Fri 13-Jun-14 12:59:13

But frankly I think there should be just one title for all adult women.
Yes, yes yes. If we all just stayed 'Miss', whether we married or not, there wouldn't be this nonsense.

This is what men do.

HazleNutt Fri 13-Jun-14 13:06:41

Most other countries I know that used to have the married and single women titles, simply started to use the married one for all grown women, and left the single one for young girls only. I find that much more reasonable than inventing a third "I'm not telling you" title.

Oldraver Fri 13-Jun-14 13:09:13

I bank with Santander and my bank card has Ms on it.

What 'proof' of Ms-dom where you supposed to provide as there isnt any. Your title is what you decide. Lots of institutions still think you become a Mrs Married name when you marry, and think titles are leagally binding or something.

I reverted to my maiden name before I had DS2 as I didnt want to give him my married name thta had nothing to do with him (I was widowed). Most organisations were ok with this.... some couldn't comprehend the change of name

FatalCabbage Fri 13-Jun-14 13:17:56

I remember being told in some detail that one has to be a little careful with Signora and Signorina in Italian (Mrsand Miss respectively) because using Signora too early implies she looks old, and using Signorina too long implies nobody would ever marry her...

A bit like when mothers of toddlers stop saying "mind that girl" and start saying "mind that lady".

Titles are so rarely useful - especially in databases. It makes not a chuffing bit of difference to (say) iTunes whether I'm Miss, Mrs, Lady, Dr, Cmdr or Brig.

Oldraver Fri 13-Jun-14 13:39:16

I do confess to not correcting BT when they insist on calling me 'Lady'...I think someone missheard once as my initials sound like Lady..

I have a chuckle everytime I get a letter off them

GoringBit Fri 13-Jun-14 16:05:47

I used it work in a high street bank, and can't think of any reason why you can't change your title - it's not your name, its a form of address, and is your choice. Anyone wanting to change with their bank, ask. And if the person you ask says no, escalate the matter. And keep escalating until you get it sorted.

BosomBunnies Fri 13-Jun-14 16:32:00

Given the amount of trouble the bank I use (Nationwide) building society actually had with changing my name and title when I got married I can imagine how frustrating it must be to want to be known as 'Ms' and not be able to get the bank to amend their records!! The issue they had for me was they changed my last name (went in in person with marriage certificate), but left my title as 'Miss'!

E.g. I was Miss Bosom B Rabbits to Mrs Bosom B Bunnies but they had me down as Miss Bosom B Bunnies.

They re-issued cards & cheque books (have several accounts), all incorrectly, getting them to change it to show 'Mrs' should have been easy but wasn't, they wanted me to go in AGAIN with marriage certificate to prove the title, I refused and spoke to someone higher up who did agree that that was daft when I had been in once already!

What a waste of paper & plastic (& time!) having to shred all those cheque books and cards.

AnotherSpinningFuckingRainbow Fri 13-Jun-14 16:40:29

I'm a Ms. I refuse to use any company which doesn't have this option.

HazleNutt Fri 13-Jun-14 17:40:23

I have credit cards from 4 banks in 3 countries, none of them have any titles on them, just my name. Amazingly, banks manage to check that another HazleNutt doesn't actually go and cash my cheques, even without titles.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 13-Jun-14 17:40:42

I am Mrs but will answer to anything. I can't get steamed up about trivialities.

PicardyThird Fri 13-Jun-14 17:41:19

I got round this by i) emigrating to one of those countries which has adopted the 'married' title for all adult women and ii) doing a PhD (rather drastic, I admit grin ).

I refer to female children (up to prob about 14) as Miss and all other girls/women as Ms, unless I know specifically that someone prefers Miss or Mrs.

Where I live, people corresponding with me in English for whatever reason assume Mrs is the 'status-neutral' title for all women and so I get called it now and again, which I find very strange indeed. I also have issues with people leaving off the clearly English part of my double barrel (not because it's difficult to pronouce - in fact the German part is harder, as unusual). I did once say, politely, 'no, I am Frau Picardy-Third, Frau Picardy is my MIL', and received one of the most poisonous looks in reply I have ever received in my life.

muffinino82 Fri 13-Jun-14 18:43:18

I was having this problem with Barclays and went to the bank in person to change it. The chap who saw me asked if I had a deed poll to show the change and I simply pointed out that a title such as Ms, Mrs or Miss is a courtesy title and I can use whichever I chose. He just changed it for me. If they don't have Ms I insist on Mr awkward grin

OryxCrake Fri 13-Jun-14 18:44:26

Surely women shouldn't be expected to reveal their marital status through their title any more than men are.

I don't think it's a trivial issue because to me the expectation that a woman should parade whether she's married or not by the title she uses is symptomatic of deep-seated sexism in our society.

Is Ms not just the equivalent of Mr? I used Ms when I wasn't married and Ms after I got married.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 13-Jun-14 19:12:46

I don't care who knows my marital status. Is one supposed to be superior to the other? It is not a secret.

Delphiniumsblue Fri 13-Jun-14 19:14:14

I prefer Mrs and present surname but I will answer to Ms, or even Mrs and my son's surname, without correcting-I can't get bothered about it.

overthemill Fri 13-Jun-14 19:15:42

There is a male equiv to 'miss ' it's 'master'. But I understand your point

Delphiniumsblue Fri 13-Jun-14 19:16:39

I generally just put the names without the title anyway.

So when does a Master become a Mr?

PestoSunnyissimos Fri 13-Jun-14 20:27:19

What about if your husband has died? DH passed away last year, but I still use Mrs, coz I didn't get un-married confused

SteamTrainsRealAleandOpenFires Fri 13-Jun-14 20:27:21

Males:- Master, Mister or Esquire.

Though I quite like the idea of reviving "Esquire" on forms et cetera. grin

*BTB...Mr. & Esquire, should on no account be used at the same time.

E.g. Mr. J. Smith---correct. J Smith Esquire---correct. Mr J. Smith Esquire---wrong.

SteamTrainsRealAleandOpenFires Fri 13-Jun-14 20:31:03

MC, I would have thought it was when they reach their majority 21 or now at 18 (voting ages?)

FrOZenKidS Fri 13-Jun-14 20:42:08

whoknowswherethetimegoes yes in my bank I would use your other cards as ID and if needed to get the BM to discretion the change of details.

sorry the reply is sooo late!

That's OK! I might try and get it done, it's long overdue. Unfortunately it's Lloyds and I have no idea where my nearest branch is since the one here changed to TSB.

EBearhug Fri 13-Jun-14 21:02:43

E.g. Mr. J. Smith---correct. J Smith Esquire---correct. Mr J. Smith Esquire---wrong.

I have sent letters to J Smith, esq in the past (my parents always did). One friend had no idea what I was on about (the esquire bit; I did change J Smith to his own name, as that would have been excessively confusing.)

It is pretty archaic, though. I think you were meant to address letters to Mr J Smith if it's for trade, but J Smith esq for friends. (Because one wouldn't be friends with tradesmen, obviously.)

mathanxiety Fri 13-Jun-14 21:04:01

I think somebody needs to do a PhD on the many wacko ideas that seem to be common among the British about the title Ms.
An insult?

How did all these misconceptions come about? And what do they say about how women see themselves and each other?

cricketpitch Fri 13-Jun-14 21:26:29

I have been Ms for many, many years - on everything.

An anecdote from 1985 when I was working in Customer Support and had to call a very difficult, (but valuable), customer. I introduced myself as FirstName Surname and he asked, " Is it Miss cricketpitch or Mrs cricketpitch?" I replied that it was First name cricketpitch. He insisted - "I prefer to use your correct title; is it Miss or Mrs?" I told him "Miss".

He said "Never mind dear, plenty of time, plenty of time. Now about my order..."

Mathanxiety I think you might have something there.

Single male- Mr
Married male- Mr
Divorced male- Mr
Widowed male- Mr
Any of the above who remarry- Mr.

Why do females have to run the gamut of nuances, pejorative assumptions, approbation or misconception based on their title? Males don't have to produce marriage certificates when they change their bank details, or update their passports. Why should women have to go through all the soul searching and admin palaver and agonising over what to call themselves, when men don't? Is that not very clearly sex discrimination?

CharlotteCollins Fri 13-Jun-14 21:39:25

Very interesting, that NYT article.

I'm quite pleased to hear that Ms is pronounced Mizz. I always thought it was Muhz.

It would be great if Ms were the accepted default. As an interim step, given that people have strong preferences for each of the alternatives, women could just use whichever they like best, regardless of marital status.

So I am getting divorced, but I still call myself Mrs Marriedname, because it's easier (and because I want the same name as my DCs).

For new stuff that insists on a title, I may well go for Ms now that I've read this, though.

PunchHouse Fri 13-Jun-14 21:59:24

In France, the Powers That Be have completely done away with 'Mademoiselle' as an official title. People still use it, but officially, all females of any age are 'Madame', just as all males are 'Monsieur'.

It'd be hard for English to follow suit though, maybe because Ms isn't short for an actual generic title for an adult woman. If it was, people might be less bothered by it maybe?

mathanxiety Fri 13-Jun-14 22:14:52

Actually Ms is the only generic title for an adult woman. Mrs and Miss are not generic - they are specific references to the marital status of girls and women.

It's just not short for anything as Mrs and Miss are.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 13-Jun-14 22:18:27

Mrs, Miss, and Ms are all short for Mistress. Mrs was the standard abbreviation and used for married and unmarried women until sometime in the 17th century when Miss came into use for unmarried women. Ms is the attempt to come up with another abbreviation that does not signify marital status.

PunchHouse Fri 13-Jun-14 22:28:31

math, yes I had 'short for an actual word' in my original post but must have deleted it (Friday night syndromeconfused)

That's what I mean in any case. Ms is construed as 'made up' whereas Mrs & Miss have a basis in history and are short for something. I was just saying that it's a shame we don't have an equivalent of 'Madame' which is used as a term of address for all women except the very young.

PunchHouse Fri 13-Jun-14 22:35:25

Gah, I mean 'term of address that has been applicable to all women whatever their marital status, for generations', unlike Ms.

I know what I mean!

Time I went to bed...

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 13-Jun-14 22:48:13

Mistress is the generic term in English. It's just that you have to go back 300-plus years for it.

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Fri 13-Jun-14 22:51:31

For context, I am a 40 YO female in a long standing relationship with a male DP.

I don't see what point titles actually serve and would quite happily do away with them completely.

I would like to be addressed as Julie Jones* or Julie, but because I am usually forced to select a title, mostly on online forms, I am addressed as all three of Miss, Ms and Mrs Jones, none of which seem to be 'me'.

I have lately being defaulting to Ms Jones and have a perpetual argument with our office staff because they book things like car hire and hotels for us and appararently every one of these suppliers needs to know my marital status to provide me with these services. hmm

And apparently Ms is incorrect because I am not divorced to be fair we are talking about public sector dinosaurs here.

Like many other PPs, this annoys me because it is an incovenience and difficultly that men do not have to deal with. And in most cases, whether the subject is male or female is also irrelevant, which makes titles even more unnecessary.

The situations where it is necessary to specify male or female must now be extremely small, now that it is illegal to use gender to set prices for life and car insurance, even when there is a demonstrable difference between male and female.

Gender is not even necessary to be displayed on bank cards, even though it would be a good security feature - with chip and pin, shop assistants don't see the cards.

If the card flashed up some simple detail about its owner to the shop assistant, it would greatly reduce the amount of fraud. If my card said that I was a 40 YO black female and a 20 YO white male tried to use my card, the shop assistant would know if was being used fraudulently and not allow the sale.

I would happily go with the Scandinavian way of doing things, where everyone addresses each other by their first names. I would be equally happy with either the European way of calling all adult women Mrs, regardless of marital status, or the US way of using Ms for all adult women.

Simply separting marital status from title for women, so that they are treated equally to men is all that I ask.

* Like other PPs my real name is not Julie Jones.

What are miss and mrs short for?

GarlicJuneBlooms Fri 13-Jun-14 22:56:01

Mistress and mistress grin

Purplecircle Fri 13-Jun-14 23:02:11


I would prefer not to have a title and that as we are living in the 21st century, just call me by my name. My marital status is no ones business. Before I married people would assume I'm mrs because of my age, I would refuse to answer to it.
'Is mrs x there?' , no there is no one here by that name!
I think to get someone's name wrong is the height of rudeness and is offensive to the person.
As in 'You aren't important enough for me to remember your name!'
I might be ranting here but this would never arise with a bloke. No one assumes their marital status because there's no way of knowing it
I'll climb off my soapbox now!

mathanxiety Fri 13-Jun-14 23:37:04

The US is possibly more like Scandinavia in discarding titles altogether. As Scone says, many organisations address people as Dear Firstname Surname.

(Though apropos of nothing I will add that I rejoice in an Irish first name that is completely off the US radar, and sometimes those organisations that do insist on using titles in correspondence address me as Mr.)

mrsbug Fri 13-Jun-14 23:38:10

I'm usually Ms (ironically, considering my username). This is because I am Sullied and the unmarried mother of an illegitimate child wink

I filled in a form the other day with the option of 'Mx' as title. I have no idea what this signifies or how it is pronounced. I selected it as it sounded intriguing. This was for a work related meeting and I have no idea what the organisers think this means.

I namechanged from a Mrs nickname partly because I felt it undermined my case for Ms as the default for adult women on many threads like this.

olgaga Fri 13-Jun-14 23:55:07

I teally don't understand this. I'm 54, I've had a NatWest bank account since 1982 in the name of Ms Olgaga.

I don't remember ever having a problem online or offline with calling myself Ms, even though I'm married and use both single and married names.

Only when I use my married name do I use Mrs.

EasilyDistracted77 Sat 14-Jun-14 00:24:52

My personal campaign would be to remove the need for a title at all; I don't see what purpose it serves!

sashh Sat 14-Jun-14 06:13:01

Back in the day <<old gimmer alert>> Ms was devised to be an alternative to Mrs when someone divorced.

No it wasn't.

And the titles Miss and Mrs had nothing to do with marriage until relatively recently

meandcoffeeequalhappy Sat 14-Jun-14 07:14:56

If you think that is offensive, try post-divorce being default MRS (that grits in your teeth). It makes you feel sooooooooo MIDDLEAGED and past it. Seriously, apparently I can't be in my 30s and single, apparently. I would be delighted by a youthful miss.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 14-Jun-14 07:23:58

Your marital status is single, with illegitimate children; this may offend you but it is correct.
The term 'illegitimate' offends the fuck out of me. I'm perfectly real and prefer the term bastard, thankyouverymuch. (As my daughter likes to say, some of the best people are.)

People who know me through my daughter sometimes say Mrs Herlastname. This doesn't bother me at all. I invite them to call me by my first name, but don't correct them. Because I don't care.

Of course, being in the US, what with accent and all, Mrs, Miss or Ms all sound more or less the same. Which is convenient. The slightly more polite form of address for any adult female would be ma'am. Default for written correspondence, when included, seems usually to be Ms though.

ivykaty44 Sat 14-Jun-14 07:28:44

Barclay's default for divorced woman is Ms, I never asked for my title to be changed but it was
Some time after they discovered I was divorced

Inertia Sat 14-Jun-14 07:59:23

DH expected to be asked to provide proof when he became Dr rather than Mr and went to the bank to change it - think he was a bit disappointed when they just said it was his choice of title and he didn't get to show off a certificate

They had a drop down menu in their computer system and you could choose whatever you liked - and I'll be honest, I did consider Duchess.

HazleNutt Sat 14-Jun-14 08:27:45

Another argument for getting rid of titles - in the globalised world, you don't necessarily even know if the name is male or female. I often get emails addressed to Mr Nutt.

Someone once explained that they were told to address people as Mr, if they weren't sure of the gender, as otherwise men would get upset being addressed as Mrs or Ms, but women apparently don't mind being "promoted". Well, I do mind! Especially as people usually want something from me and if they are not sure if I'm a Ms or Mr, they could simply quickly google me and would find my photo on our company website. (no, I really don't look like a man). But no, it's easier to assume everybody is a man..

HazleNutt Sat 14-Jun-14 08:30:58

Mrsbug, Mx is supposed to be a gender (and marital status) neutral title.

MsBug Sat 14-Jun-14 08:53:25

Is this better, WhoKnows?

That's interesting Hazle, I can't decide if that's a good idea or just negates the point of a title at all

SandorClegane Sat 14-Jun-14 09:08:57

When I got married I had an argument with a young (and fairly rude and not very well informed) man about the fact both me and my husband were changing our names (to his name-my name) and that I wanted to remain ms and not become mrs. I've used ms since I can remember as I don't see why I should have to reveal my marital status when men don't need to. He found this unfathomable and tried to tell me it 'wasn't allowed' and when I got my new card it had mrs on it despite my clear request. I ordered another one and made a complaint and they changed it and credited my account with 20 quid to apologise.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 14-Jun-14 12:11:41

Of course, being in the US, what with accent and all, Mrs, Miss or Ms all sound more or less the same

This is really only true for some parts of the US; it is definitely true for much of the South. Mrs has been pronounced Miz for generations.

NinjaLeprechaun Sat 14-Jun-14 12:17:00

Yeah, I should probably have specified that I meant where I live specifically. I'm in the Northwest (Oregon, but I lived in Washington for years as well) and there seems to a subtle 'Southern' influence on the accent here.

QueenStromba Sat 14-Jun-14 14:12:53

I always select Ms but my university and the NHS have me as Miss. I hate being addressed as Miss because it feels like a title for a little girl. I don't like Mrs either because that feels like being defined by a relationship to a man. When I get married I'll be Dr Myname (assuming I pass my viva) professionally because Myname is rarer so easier to publication search. I'll be Ms/Dr Hisname for everything else because I prefer Hisname and I'm fed up of always having to spell Myname out for people.

QueenStromba Sat 14-Jun-14 14:14:26

I meant to also say that if a form has no option for Ms I always select Mr, although I will give my business to another company in that case if it's feasible.

mathanxiety Sat 14-Jun-14 17:47:11

In the South of the US, it's often Miz Firstname.

scoobydooagain Sat 14-Jun-14 18:00:34

I really would prefer not to have to use any title, if I have to, I usually use miss - I'm divorced by the way.

rumbleinthrjungle Sat 14-Jun-14 20:44:54

Very interesting article sashh

I would prefer not to have to define my identity in terms of a man on principle, and while 'master' is used to mean a male child who will graduate automatically to a Mr, the Miss part is a continuation of Victorian society beliefs that a female held a minor/inferior status until she became legally attached to a man. With the spinsters being something of a family embarrassment. Yes it's so archaic that it's lost almost all meaning but that doesn't make it ok.

I use Ms. I'm now at the age where I'm automatically referred to as 'Mrs', and I get why, I look too old for people to feel comfortable to say 'Miss', and there still is the faint Jane Austen flavour that you've somehow failed if you're still a Miss. As a hairdresser said to me when I corrected her on my marital status, "Never mind love, we'll get you a man yet."

Uhm...... confusedangry

Osmiornica Sat 14-Jun-14 20:56:00

I had the exact same problem with Santander. I rang up to change my title to Ms after getting married (but not taking my husban's) name and they just couldn't seem to get it. They were so useless in the end I changed banks.

I also had trouble with the crb check which didn't allow me to state married but Ms. I had to Mrs and it also didn't like the fact that I hadn't changed my name.

gobbin Sat 14-Jun-14 22:13:04

I loathe Ms. I have recently changed unions and they assumed the title of Ms for me. They got a stiff email telling them to change it to Mrs and to either omit it in future or ask what someone would like to be titled.

I would be so pleased if organisations would just assume I was a Ms.

Igggi Sat 14-Jun-14 23:08:12

For people who say they don't want titles at all, what would children call teachers? (I'd have said
'What would strangers call you" but everyone seems to use first names these days)

I've used Ms since 18 and I opened my first proper bank account.

I am married.

I'd also quite happily do without the whole Miss/Mrs/Ms thing altogether, although have a sneaking hankering for going a bit 17th century and being Mistress Cowgirl...

Ifpigscouldfly Sat 14-Jun-14 23:20:50

Yes my new employer have sent me a letter addressed to Miss.They Have not asked my marital status just assumed based on my age. In fact they have a copy of my drivers licence which clearly states I am a Ms. Which I thought was a little odd tbh.

If you don't know surely it's either Ms or first name last name ?

My female boss also once said the correct way to address correspondence to persons unknown is always dear sirs not dear sir or madam. That's not true is it ?!

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 14-Jun-14 23:22:56

Quakers don't use titles. In the Quaker schools that I am familiar with, children call teachers by their first names.

GarlicJuneBlooms Sat 14-Jun-14 23:23:18


Good Morning, Teacher
Good Morning, Ma'am/Sir
Good Morning, Garlic Blooms

GarlicJuneBlooms Sat 14-Jun-14 23:23:46

Plus what Scone said!

GarlicJuneBlooms Sat 14-Jun-14 23:25:14

the correct way to address correspondence to persons unknown is always dear sirs - That's what I was taught. It may be old-fashioned though.

These days you always have a name, don't you?

When I was younget Dear Sir or Madam was said to be bad form but apparently is acceptable nowadays. I'd prefer Dear Madam or Sir myself.

Igggi Sat 14-Jun-14 23:42:01

Quaker schools are full of nice Quaker children though, I really don't want mine calling me ma'am or Iggi!

failingmammalian Sat 14-Jun-14 23:43:52

Could nt agree more. I love ms and struggle to see why anyone wouldn't like it (except that it's "new" "American "bolshy etc...) People are just so thick about it though.- At the moment I'm getting called mrs maiden name a )lot which of course makes me sound like my mum, which is rather disturbing.

Igggi Sat 14-Jun-14 23:43:57

(Still arfing at a world where pupils say "good morning" to you at all. A'right, miss? Would be more like it!)

SconeRhymesWithGone Sat 14-Jun-14 23:48:44

I was taught Sir or Madam for persons unknown, and I recently saw a letter addressed this way.

But again, the Quakers have the perfect solution: Dear Friend.

sykadelic Sun 15-Jun-14 00:07:08

I thought the same as Raeray, though with the addition of if you didn't changed your maiden name on marriage you became Ms. MaidenName.

I loathe being referred to as "Ms". Makes my blood boil. All of my paperwork is for Mrs. Calling me "Ms" is lazy. Check my damn file.

I agree that you should be permitted a choice, but disagree with whoever above said to only have Ms. or Mr.

Nocomet Sun 15-Jun-14 00:59:24

Likewise I'm Mrs.
Ms makes no sense if your married and use his surname.

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Sun 15-Jun-14 01:14:42

Of course it makes sense. You don't have to like it or use it, but it makes sense. It signifies "I am a female with this surname who doesn't wish to share my marital status with all and sundry whatever the nature of my relationship with them". That applies whether "this surname" is the woman's original surname, a spouse or partner's original surname, a new surname they chose together or anything else.

Of course it makes sense, it is a generic female title that can be used whatever your marital status and whether you use your birth surname or another one. That's the beauty of it.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 15-Jun-14 01:21:29

And as long as men don't reveal their marital status with their title, why the hell should women?

mathanxiety Sun 15-Jun-14 02:30:56

How would anyone know it was your H's surname you were using unless you used Mrs in front of it?

With Ms there would be no way of knowing whose surname it was, which is the beauty of Ms.

And your maiden name is your father's surname (or the surname of some other male ancestor) after all...

mathanxiety Sun 15-Jun-14 02:55:34

'with the addition of if you didn't changed your maiden name on marriage you became Ms. MaidenName.'

Everyone who thinks it's related to marriage, or lack thereof, or the end of a marriage has completely missed the point of it.

dorisdog Mon 16-Jun-14 13:11:53

I think prefixes are nonsense anyway. I'm Ms, when I have to be, but prefer to just use my name. Why does anyone need to know what gender you are, unless it's to discriminate. I have a few friends who don't identify as either male or female gender, so what are they supposed to do?

puddock Wed 25-Jun-14 13:20:16

Just had a phone conversation trying to get a cheaper deal on utility bills, and the call handler came out with this:

Him: Is that Miss Mrs or Ms?

Me: Ms please

Him: Ah I see, you've been them all, found Mr Right, then found another one ho ho

His phone manner was chummy northerner a la Peter Kay, and I didn't feel like having the "it has nothing to do with marital status" or indeed the "don't assume I'm straight" conversation, so just went for a frosty tumbleweed moment. What boggles me is that he must make that crack several times a day...

Igggi Wed 25-Jun-14 13:43:40

shock Good grief!!

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 25-Jun-14 13:53:17

On my bank cards I'm firstinitial secondinitial lastname, no prefix. My online banking name display is firstname lastname.

I requested both sets of info to be displayed this way.

It is all very odd that these prefixes are so often required to complete forms.

SueDoku Wed 25-Jun-14 16:51:57

My credit cards all just show 'S Doku' - but my First Direct Debit card says 'Ms S Doku' - and so do my bank statements smile

florascotia Wed 25-Jun-14 18:14:25

Today an adult woman in France is still automatically called 'Madame'. In the past, in the same way, all UK women deemed to be adult (over 21) were called 'Mistress'.( In the same way, adult men in the UK were called 'Mister'.) The title continued, for all adult females , married or not, way into the 20th cent in Scotland.

As others have said, Ms is an abbreviation of this old-fashioned 'Mistress' title. Nothing to do with divorce - or Jane Austen.

silverten Fri 27-Jun-14 09:01:19

I had to renew our Tv licence declaration recently. It carried over my title of Doctor from last time, but then added a Mrs for good measure, presumably because their unimaginative programmers couldn't conceive of a female not having a Mrs/Miss/Ms title, so forced a default on me... So weirdly the declaration says 'Mrs Doctor silverten'.

Tried to change it but no dice. #eyeroll

Miggsie Fri 27-Jun-14 09:06:02

Banks are strange - all my credit cards are intials and my name whereas the bank insists on a title so it's got "Ms". I wonder if I should rebel and choose "Sir" next time?

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