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Why do so many people think Ms means divorced?

(88 Posts)
KeepingAwayFromTheJoneses Thu 14-Jul-11 14:20:19

My mail was delivered to a nosey person in my street by mistake and she is now telling everyone who will listen that I am divorced. I have been Ms for over 20 years and it was in common use before that. So why do so many people think it means I am divorced? What's more, they seem to think it is a compulsory title forced upon divorced women as some sort of badge of shame hmm. What is this about?

I lived in an academic environment before I moved here and never had this problem, but where I live now it is a common belief. They also think they are doing me a favour by calling me Mrs, to save me from the shame of being Ms.

SinicalSal Thu 14-Jul-11 14:22:22

You see, if you could keep your man you wouldn't be bothered with any of this feminism nonsense. You'd be Mrs and proud. Poor you, eh hmm

SinicalSal Thu 14-Jul-11 14:23:08

Loving your name btw, especially in the context of this thread grin

motherinferior Thu 14-Jul-11 14:24:44

Because obviously if you Loved Your Hubby Enough, you would be proud to be a Missis.

ohmeohmy Thu 14-Jul-11 14:25:17

because they are ignorant fools?

KeepingAwayFromTheJoneses Thu 14-Jul-11 14:26:24

I created this name the other day specifically to post about her. Things have got to the stage where I fear for my mental health.

startail Thu 14-Jul-11 14:31:28

I only use Ms if I have to address someone and I don't know if they are married or not.
If someone insists on Ms I assume she's the sort of feminist I'd fight with on herewink
ie. the sort who worries about bikini car washes rather than real pay.

startail Thu 14-Jul-11 14:33:25

That was supposed to read equal pay, my iPod is clearly mad!

SinicalSal Thu 14-Jul-11 14:35:26

That wasn't very nice Startail. It's not either/or.

KeepingAwayFromTheJoneses Thu 14-Jul-11 14:35:44

Funny you should mention that Startail because the person I am talking about is exactly the sort of person who would think bikini car washes are a great idea and such fun. She also thinks I should get a nice little job.

Sarsaparilllla Thu 14-Jul-11 14:35:45

My DP thought it meant you were divorved as well, it took me ages to convince him otherwise, don't know where that idea come from but it seems a common misunderstanding

going Thu 14-Jul-11 14:37:45

I use Ms as I am married but have kept my name. My Dh thought it was only for divorced women too but I started a thread on here which corrected him!

jennyvstheworld Thu 14-Jul-11 14:38:01

I'd imagine that some people are not sure of the purpose of Ms unless to denote the situation of having been divorced, perhaps by virtue of not having been in business or paying a lot of attention to the quality press. I think we can deplore ignorant gossip, but do we also blame people for being uneducated - or is there no difference?

SinicalSal Thu 14-Jul-11 14:39:34

Well if it's just ignorant remarks by one ignoramus you should probably shrug and put it down to part of life's rich tapestry. But it's more than that, it seems.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 14-Jul-11 14:39:42

I always thought it meant you were a high flying career woman with a distinct feminist streak! It does make sense of course, I just don't like the sound of "mus" so always use Mrs. (plus I am not much of a feminist)

LRDTheFeministNutcase Thu 14-Jul-11 14:44:31

I find it odd too, OP.

It never really occurred to me not to use Ms - like a lot of people, I only realized it was an issue after I got married and suddenly found myself surrounded by people who were deeply offended by me using a title I thought was the default for most women. confused

KeepingAwayFromTheJoneses Thu 14-Jul-11 14:46:02

I think you might be onto something there, Amothersplace. I imagine some people around me might be more tolerant of me being Ms if had a fabulous career.

It seems quite common to think it means divorced. I once knew a man many years ago who used it as a put down, as though by calling a woman Ms he was implying she was a woman of ill repute.

Ephiny Thu 14-Jul-11 14:49:51

Never occurred to me not to use Ms either, not since I was old enough to 'need' a title for filling in forms etc. To me Miss sounded like a little girl, and Mrs belonged to my mother's generation. Wouldn't have identified myself as a feminist at the time either.

NasalCoffeeEnema Thu 14-Jul-11 14:53:45

When I was growing up the only people I knew who used Ms were divorced it's only been more recently I've discovered its not the case. Maybe there are more people who have made the discovery.
Even when I thought it meant divorced I never though of it as a negative thing though more a thank fuck I dont need to 'attach' myself to him anymore

motherinferior Thu 14-Jul-11 14:57:09

Also, clearly, if you are the sort of ranting harridan who doesn't want to be a Mrs, your hubby <boak> will soon see the error of his ways and take up with a Proper Woman.

Oddly enough, most of us who have a view on bikini car washes rather assume that equal pay is a Good Thing, startail. Sounds as if you're tilting at straw feminists rather.

KeepingAwayFromTheJoneses Thu 14-Jul-11 15:05:21

Quite right, Motherinferior, I'd better buck up my ideas if I want to Keep My Man.

DaisySteiner Thu 14-Jul-11 15:07:32

My mother still won't have it that 'Ms' doesn't necessarily divorced shock Her only concession is people who are 'living in sin' sometimes use it shock shock She's not even that old!!

NotADudeExactly Thu 14-Jul-11 15:07:37

I've been a my-marital-status-is-none-of-your-business Ms ever since before I even met DH and I don't think I've ever had any strange reactions.

In my case it may have helped that Ms NADE was in her early twenties when she first pointed out to professional contacts that Ms it actually was. Maybe they all assumed I was too young to have managed to catch a guy, marry him, piss him off and get a divorce since coming of age.

I'm actually intrigued to find that people would have a negative reaction to it. I grew up in a German speaking environment and witnessed during my childhood how "Fraeulein" ("Miss") went from being a pretty normal if somewhat old fashioned form of address to downright insulting.

When I went to primary school our (male) teacher taught us to say it was rude to call any woman "Miss" if we heard it.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 14-Jul-11 15:36:07

I honestly don't know. Pretty much all the divorced women I know still use their married name (if they had one).

reelingintheyears Thu 14-Jul-11 15:58:51

What's a bikini car wash??

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