Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When Does a Miss Become a Ms?

I realised that since I moved back home, I am no longer referred to as "Miss." I am now a Ms. For a while, I held out and continued to sign my letters with Miss. However, I have (unconsciously) started to get on that Ms. train. Even when people don't know how old I am, they still address me as Mizz. I know that some women do not enjoy being referred to as Ms. I am not sure what other people's reasons are, but for me, Mizz has always carried with it connotations of grim and determined spinsterhood. Maybe it's the way people say it, but many of the Mizzes I know are anything but grim.

Hmmm, questions to mull over....

12 comments:

Akin said...

Interesting.

If we were to find a masculine parallel would it be Master for boys/bachelors, Mister (Mr.) for married men and Mazda (Mz.) for someone in-between?

ayoke said...

Hahahaha! I had a client (40+ years old) who insisted we stopped addressing her as "Miss.". She said we must always address her as "Ms.". I don't get it. What difference does it make? I write my name as "Miss. ---" but I don't get overly sensitive if someone addresses me as "Ms.". As for as I'm concerned, the dichotomy is not really necessary.

Marin said...

I am married but have not changed my surname. Due to the awkwardness of being addressed as Mrs "my maiden name", whenever I have the opportunity, I chose to be addressed as Ms.

Pilgrimage to Self said...

I think when a single woman reaches a certain, erm, age using the term Miss is a bit off (too much of a small girl feel to it in my opinion) so I always opt for Ms. Thats my 2 cents anyway.

Gbemi's Piece said...

I have thought about this too especially as it does not affect men. The transition from "Master" to "Mr." is a lot clearer. In America (I think), every adult woman is a "Ms.". I hardly ever hear anyone being referred to as "Mrs.". Both married and unmarried seem to be referred to as "Ms.". I noticed that in Nigeria, unmarried women of a certain age preferred "Ms.". "Miss." has a young conotation to it. I think "Miss." is good for my 10-year old niece.

ayoke said...

Hmm... For me, it's all in the head. Even if we investigate the feminist theories and the history behind it. I would sooner take offence at someone substantively insulting me on account of my sex than bother about a social construct about the use of "Miss." or "Ms.". Personally (and this is not to water down any other person's preference), I would feel there are more important issues to address. That said, we are all at liberty to set our priorities.

adefunke said...

I don't address myself by any of the above i.e. Miss or Ms. I also spell my names in lowercase so I might have issues!

Ore said...

OK, Funke, yes you might be right there. Issues galore! LOL!!!!!

I don't tend to care how people address me - Ms., Miss - it's all the same to me. Though now that I think about it, I have lately found myself feeling strangely offended when people address me as Mrs.

Okay, now, I might be the one with the issues....

When I worked in Boston at the NGO, many people would refer to me as Dr. ..... While that was very flattering, I had to quickly let them know that, no, I do not have a Phd. I cannot enjoy a title I am yet to labour for years to earn. So it bewilders me that in Nigeria, people with honourary doctorates should be addressed as Dr. It really makes a mockery of those who actually worked for theirs.

confusednaijagirl said...

i think its more of your preference. if you want to be referred to as miss or ms

dami said...

"So it bewilders me that in Nigeria, people with honourary doctorates should be addressed as Dr. "

you know how some naija people like having things or like being credited for things they didn't work for. what gets me is after working for your phd (i assume), you'd pick the title professor over dr. i guess it's a naija thing to differentiate between the real doctors.

btw, do all uni profs in naija have phds to be called prof? what's the alternative? lecturer?

songreach said...

I work in the Higher Education setting...and here, Ms. is more official, even married women Directors and Executives prefer to be referred to as "Ms." If they don't have a Ph.D

uknaija said...

I prefer to address women as Ms as it makes no assumptions as to their marital status- which I think is only fair as men are Mr whether they are married or not (except of course in Naija where they are Chief, Dr, Engineer Pharmacist, etc)

But seriously, personally I think I find Miss more evocative of spidery, elderly spinsters (there's another loaded word) perhaps it's to do with Miss Havisham in Great Expectations...
Whatever rocks your boat jare