I only recently learned what ‘Ms’ stood for. I know, I know, I can see you rolling your feminist eyes at me but I’m sure there are other people like me who don’t know what it stands for. For those that do not know ‘Ms’ is the female equivalent to ‘Mr’. Like the male term its a non disclosure of your marital status. Miss is for an unmarried woman and Mrs is for a married woman (as you probably already know). So whether you want to disclose your marital status or not; by using those traditional titles, its right there for the whole world to see.
Both male titles of ‘Mister’ and ‘Master’ are abbreviated to ‘Mr’ so you cannot tell the difference. Master is also very uncommon these days! It felt unfair that the abbreviated term for males was both age and marital status neutral but I just didn’t think there was a female equivalent. But in this day and age where less and less people are getting married anyway its really no ones business whether you are married or not. Why should your electricity company know whether you are married or not just by your title? What difference does that even make to your bills? You’re either co habiting or your not. Does being married get you a cheaper rate? Of course not. It doesn’t make one blind bit of difference.
Feminism is a word that I’m only recently coming to terms with. Would I describe myself as feminist? Absolutely YES. I wholeheartedly believe in equality of the sexes. I’m not man bashing at all and it is important to state that FEMINISM is not man bashing. Feminism is about equality of the sexes. As much as I believe that women should be earning the equivalent to what their male counterparts earn; I believe that men should have more rights and time off when it comes to parent hood. Two weeks are not enough! Its not the woman’s job to bring the children up, its the PARENTS job. It takes two people to create a baby.
Sam and I have built our relationship on being equals. No one is more in charge of one chore or the other. In a recent conversation with my father where I asked him to teach me how to drill into walls; his instant reply was “I should teach Sam” but he of course has no problems teaching me. I know its a generational thing – thats the environment he grew up in. Men do ‘this’ and Women do ‘that’. But that is not how Sam and I settle things in our relationship. He does just as much house work as I do. In fact, I’m the “bread winner”. Equality is important.
Language is Knowledge and Words are Power:
There was an email sent round my place of work recently and rather than using the word ‘woman’ they used ‘girl’ and it was written by a young man. I didn’t say anything but it did irk me. I’m not a girl and I haven’t been a girl for a long time! And there is no one I’d consider of an age to be a girl working in my company. It got me thinking back to ‘Girl Vs Woman: Why Language Matters‘ a video by Mayim Bialik. She makes valid points about how language is important in how we name and label objects, items and people. She’s 100% correct when she says language matters!
I am going to firstly change all of my documentation so that it reads Ms rather than Miss. I’m changing the way I refer to women (and myself) and I’ll make an effort to politely correct others when they have not used the correct language. I want to do whatever I can to make a difference in equality and it starts with the small stuff!
Have you ever thought about your title and how you refer to yourself and others in terms of language?