Why are there so many titles for women but only one for men?

(81 Posts)
THERhubarb Tue 26-Feb-13 09:47:32

Why do women need to have their marital status or otherwise conveyed in a title such as Miss, Ms or Mrs whilst men, no matter whether they are with someone or not, will always be Mr?

I've always hated titles and it still feels weird to be addressed as Mrs. I have a name, it's part of my identity and I would much rather my name be used than an old-fashioned title which tells the person whether I am married, single or otherwise.

I find it weird that people can take offence at their first names being used but not be bothered by a title that can tell others exactly what their marital status is. What business is it of theirs? How come men get away with having a non-descript title whilst we have to let the world know our marital status?

Am I the only one who hates having a title and who steadfastly refuses to use it?

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 28-Feb-13 07:25:34

Exotic, the point is that men have the same title regardless of marital status whereas Miss/Mrs is all about marital status. If Mrs was the title for adult female (as with Madame or Frau, I think), there would be no issue with it.

I know plenty of women who use Ms, though I agree none of them are teachers.

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 07:35:00

I can't understand why the marital status matters- it is as if there is shame at 'being left on the shelf'! If I was 40, 60, 80 etc I would be quite happy with Miss - it at least has a vowel. In a way it sounds more distinguished.

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 07:40:29

I hardly ever use it anyway, now that I am not in the classroom.
It is just polite to use whatever people choose themselves which is why they should have the choice. My mother is very elderly, she wouldn't want strangers calling her by her first name uninvited and it would be very rude to default to Ms when she has always been Mrs - not to say upsetting for her.
It is trivial- just choose for yourself and live and let live. Women always make their choice and want to choose for everyone in that their choice is the 'right' choice instead of merely the 'right choice for them'.

wonkylegs Thu 28-Feb-13 08:07:47

My DH is a Dr but my mum was incredibly confused when he became a consultant as she thought he was going to revert to Mr - we had a very long conversation about how although he does invasive procedures (pacemakers etc) that it's not technically surgery so he's still a dr (I ended up confused at the end of the conversation with my elderly mum)
I nearly always get professional post sent to Mr Wonkylegs as they always assume that I'm a bloke as I'm an architect despite having a distinctly feminine first name.
We refer to DS as Master

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 08:11:57

I never put master or miss for children- I just put both their names on the envelope.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 28-Feb-13 08:33:31

Exotic, If you met another woman in a professional setting, say a would-be governor, and you later had to write her a formal letter about the meeting, how would you address her (Dear What?) if you hadn't been told her preferred title?

I would use Ms then and I would always use Ms unless I had some further piece of information (eg she introduced herself as Mrs X or it came up in conversation that she had a PhD etc).

I would always use Ms in a formal address to a woman unless I had been informed otherwise.

As regards Ms only being a MN thing, all my female colleagues bar one (who is in her 60s) use Ms or Dr, as do a fair few of my other female friends. I think it will gradually become the default.

THERhubarb Thu 28-Feb-13 10:58:20

Why on earth would you give a title to a child?

That's just indoctrination. I refuse to give mine titles and would get quite annoyed if someone insisted I did. They are children, use their names fgs!

I can't remember the last time I addressed someone as Mrs or Mr. I tend to find out what their names are and use those. If they get all shirty about it that's their problem.

I may even encourage the kids to use their teachers' first names in class - that should go down well! grin

I've used Ms since I turned 18. I'm reasonably sure I've never been divorced, unless it happened during a particularly wild night out at college...

When necessary (I think it's only been at the doctors' office) I've used Miss for the DDs and Master for DS. I assume he'll switch from Master to Mr automatically when he grows up -- there won't be any such automatic switch for the DDs who will have to decide what title they want (I may put in a word for "Field Marshal".

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 11:18:52

I would ask someone Doctrine - for all I know they may find Ms irritating.

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 11:20:21

Addressing a DC as Miss is unnecessary.

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 11:20:40

Not to mention silly.

Exotic - I find it irritating being asked and it happens a lot, it would be far easier if we were all just Ms. I know asking is the polite way, but when the entire multiple titles for women scenario is, IMO, outdated and sexist, it just reinforces it.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 28-Feb-13 13:13:03

I hate titles in general, but used to use Ms before I got a PhD. (There seem to be many of us in the thread). I find it insulting that my title is based on my marital status. It'd be ok to me if men has a title just based on their marital status. But it's not. It puts women back to an age where our goal in life is to get married.

It bugs me even more when people automatically writes or calls me Mrs MySurname. Is it because I'm in my late thirties, I have to be married? I always correct them to put Dr. I am also happy to go titleless.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 28-Feb-13 13:14:35

And they do put Miss in front of DD's name. She's not even two. The latest one is when we book a holiday. I have a drop down choice of Master and Miss.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 28-Feb-13 13:17:22

We were sorting out will out on the phone to the solicitor's yesterday. She asked: 'so you're not married: have you ever been married, either to each other or to someone else?'

'No, never'.

'Ok - so, Mrs Nit, what was your maiden name?' confused

She later warned us that if we did get married at any later date, we must revise the will as 'Mrs Nit' would be deemed dead and replaced by Mrs DPNAME. I said, but I would keep the same name, so would that still need revising?

She said 'yes, because you would be MRS yourname not Miss, wouldn't you?'

I said I would remain Dr Myname as I am now, so neither title nor surname would change. She said that she had never heard of such a situation, and would try to find out.

I think our solicitor might be really dim.

I've just opened a new bank account for each DC, their cards have arrived with Master and Miss on, without me asking for it.

However I remember being pleased that when I opened my first Lloyds bank account nearly 30 years ago they were quite happy to put my name only on my cheque books, no title, it has stayed that way ever since.

If you got married at any later date you'd need to revise the will because it would be automatically voided by the marriage (unless you made the will specifically "in anticipation of marriage"). It's got bugger-all to do with names (I think you may be right about your solicitor...).

When we did our wills, the solicitor had no problem with me being a married Ms Ownname. I asked what would happen if you were named in a will as the wrong name (a lot of my family still seem to think I am really called Mrs DHsurname including my brother who has named me as executor) she said it would not be a problem, I would just need to show ID docs including marriage certificate.

Come to think of it, our will writer did initially mess it up, but the other way around - they assumed (presumably because of the name issue) that we weren't married and drew up the wills referring to "partner" rather than husband/wife/spouse so had to redraft them.

OneLittleToddleTerror Thu 28-Feb-13 13:46:43

nit your solicitor sounds really dim. How can you be MRS yourname? Does she even know what it means. But whoknows is right that if you later gets married, it will void your will, and it has nothing to do with your name. Any marriage automatically voids it.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 28-Feb-13 14:03:20

Nit, my solicitor was similarly dim. I put it down to him being a stuck-in-the-mud fogey type.

The will would need revising if not made in anticipation of marriage, but not because 'Mrs Nit' or whoever was "deemed dead", I don't think.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 28-Feb-13 14:04:49

Exotic, are you saying that you wouldn't let the meeting (in my example) finish without checking what title she used?

HazleNutt Thu 28-Feb-13 14:24:23

OneLittle why can't you be Mrs Ownname? There are no legal restrictions for using Mrs even if not married, or married and keeping your name, if you so wish.

exoticfruits Thu 28-Feb-13 20:43:07

I don't see why the title matters- if it is a meeting why wouldn't you just say Mary Smith? It makes it appear on here as if everyone is Ms- maybe you are in cities - in my rural backwater it is not used except in the rare case.

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