Ooooooh Missus

Why is no-one raising hell about the fact that women are still asked to define their marital status on loads of forms, on ID, websites, bills, etc etc…? I’m talking about the incredible use of Mrs. and Miss. Can we not just all agree to use Ms. from now on and be done with this crap?

Ok, I’m not exactly a traditionalist when it comes to this stuff. I’m not married and I don’t ever particularly want to become a nuclear family. If I ever do get married there is no way I’m ‘taking’ my husbands name, or letting a man ‘give me away’ to another man (gee, thanks), or feeling the need to do anything under the eyes of a god who only recognises the union of people of the opposite sex. Yuck. Puke. Piss. That’s not the god I know.

I can’t expect everyone to feel this way about traditional marriage, and I do respect people who get married, for believing in love so unconditionally. I hope my cynical mind is still as open and enthused about real love. I think it probably is deep down. But I reckon the fact that no-one blinks at the aforementioned female prefix is just plain weird. Why does someone need to know if you’re married or not? What can it do? It can surely only serve to divide or restrict women more, or to tell you something about (what you perceive to be) their social position, their age, their status…?

I stopped using anything but Ms a while ago, and I think in France they’re trying to conflate madame/ mademoiselle down to one unified pronoun also. But I think alot of women, in this post-lib-we’re-doing-fine-now developed world, probably don’t really even think of it.

I would ask all female-identified folk out there reading this to please think about it. I don’t mean to sound too grandiose – you may feel I’m being a bit over the top- but these kind of small things are what I believe still ad up to a world where social and economic parity is not yet gender blind.

It’s not that we need to be the exact same as men. It’s not that we can’t embrace things that make us feel feminine or different, that help us celebrate the gender we are. But this kind of label is undoubtedly a male construct, and whether intentional or not it does nothing to empower us or make us more equal.

In fact, I really think being defined in any way- big or small- by our marital status is something that undoubtedly keeps us trapped in the a society which sees women as lesser beings. It re-enforces unhealthy gender roles (the female is a wife, the male is a person etc) and tells women that we need to think about marriage more than men do, as we’re being asked about it when being made tick the Mrs/Miss box.

Mrs has connotations of an older, settled women past her prime. Miss conjures images of a sprightly little pert thing in a mini skirt. So, we’re further pushed into narrow categories, we have further labels stuck on us, and we have further reasons to feel like shit, as we’re neither of the above, so we must be inadequate.

So, say it with me sisters- I am not your missus, I am not a little miss. I’m Ms, and anything beyond that is just not your bleedin’ business.

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