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...that discussion on Mrs, Ms, Miss

(9 Posts)
Itwasthenandstillis Tue 17-Jan-17 07:27:49

I was thinking about this more and wondered whey other European countries don't distinguish between married and unmarried women with their title. It seems that in the UK/English speaking world it is also a fairly 'new' thing. Mrs historically didn't mean married - it indicated a woman with some kind of status.

newrepublic.com/article/119432/history-female-titles-mistress-miss-mrs-or-ms

It really is time that the assumed meaning of titles of women changed.

FizzBombBathTime Tue 17-Jan-17 07:31:04

In the UK Mrs just means married. I don't think anyone uses it as a status thing. (Do they?!)

Itwasthenandstillis Tue 17-Jan-17 07:44:35

No, not anymore they don't, but, according to the article, the history of it wasn't to indicate a woman was married. It would be interesting to know when and what the reason was that it started to be used to indicate that a woman is married.

Xenophile Tue 17-Jan-17 07:53:14

No, but marriage has always conferred status to women. Perhaps not universally now as before, but a woman who's title is Miss or Ms who has children still have people raising their eyebrows at them and it's still completely normal to start a conversation with a married stranger by asking what her husband does for a living.

Didactylos Tue 17-Jan-17 13:22:45

was thinking the novel Pamela
her coworkers universally refer to the titular heroine as 'Mrs Andrews' despite the fact of her being unmarried (pretty much the point of the book) as a means of the respect they accord her (due, one presumes to her much lauded Virtue) which seemed to be the style at the time

venusinscorpio Tue 17-Jan-17 15:00:55

Really interesting article, thanks OP for posting.

venusinscorpio Tue 17-Jan-17 15:01:45

But Clarissa is "Miss Clarissa Harlowe" to all.

Didactylos Wed 18-Jan-17 07:17:22

In Pamela was it a class thing - her peers and other servants used the title while obviously the dastardly Mr B did not. Clearly using the phrase Mistress Pamela would have been a bit apposite for the novel
Miss Clarissa - higher/upwardly mobile class, initially advertising her marriagability? and then of course events/her seduction reduce the esteem she is held in?
Totally off topic (but I guess a good example of how these titles are used to express the values of the patriarchy?)

notuniqueenough Wed 18-Jan-17 21:30:29

Other countries might not have the titles Miss, Mrs or Ms. But some countries have different endings to surnames which showed marital status. In fact, I once worked with a girl from Lithuania where she had said the law had recently changed which said that a woman didn't need to disclose the "ending" of her surname as it would show her marital status and could lead to discrimination

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