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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!!!

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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