Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: snowdragon on October 30, 2012, 12:55:15 AM

Title: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: snowdragon on October 30, 2012, 12:55:15 AM
   I am taking a grant writing course where in I am laying the ground work for a (real) grant for a local museum. One of the women who will be on the curriculum committee for programming introduced herself to me as "Mrs Vazquez", she is known not to like the title "Ms" at. all. My professor on the other hand is quite insistent that she feels disrespected if any woman is referred to  as "Mrs." and that it.shall.be.done. her way.
  I realize that I will have to do it her way for the project I turn in for a grade, but I thought it would be an interesting etiquette question to see how ehellers would resolve the two ideas of "proper" address?
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: MariaE on October 30, 2012, 01:02:28 AM
Call each woman what they, personally, want to be called. If the professor objects to you calling somebody else Mrs., just reply something along the lines of "That's what she asked me to call her."
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Luci on October 30, 2012, 01:14:10 AM
I am old.

I loath "Ms" but I know that is what is accepted now so I don't fight it. I guess your professor is even more rigid than I am on her hand and "Mrs. Vazquez" is even worse than mine.

If Mrs. V is giving you all money, do it her way. If it is your evaluation/grade and the donor will not see it, do it the professor's way.

It is all politics like this in the long run, and it makes me tired.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: atirial on October 30, 2012, 05:31:52 AM
As someone who goes by Ms., I call people by what they introduce themselves as. To be honest I think your professor is being unreasonable. The idea of deliberately calling someone the wrong name because someone else insists seems to be rather rude whether the incorrect name is Mrs or Ms.

If your professor is likely to be reasonable could you put this one back onto her? Ask her outright how she would handle this situation, and whether she would prefer the correct name or her version.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: camlan on October 30, 2012, 05:54:19 AM
Depends on the professor. If I thought the professor was a reasonable person on this issue, I'd have a discussion, pointing out that people, including the professor, have a right to be called by the term they choose, in the hopes that the professor would relent.

If the professor seems adamant on this issue, and you suspect using "Mrs." might affect your grade, I'd use "Ms" on everything turned in to the professor.

If Mrs. Vazquez happens to see any of that material, I'd just explain that my professor insists on "Ms" with no exceptions, and since I need a passing grade in this course, that's what I used. Any documents submitted to the museum would of course have her preferred title of "Mrs." substituted.

And if either of them complained about it after that, I'd refer them to each other and take myself out of the battlefield. Because their real problem wouldn't be with me and I wouldn't want to waste my life energy sorting out the mess. They are the ones causing the problem; let them fix it.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: nyarlathotep on October 30, 2012, 06:23:27 AM
Does the professor know that Mrs Vasquez prefers to be known as "Mrs"?

I tend to call people what they prefer to be called, but I default to "Ms", mostly because I don't want to make any assumptions about whether someone is married or not.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Queen of Clubs on October 30, 2012, 06:55:13 AM
   I am taking a grant writing course where in I am laying the ground work for a (real) grant for a local museum. One of the women who will be on the curriculum committee for programming introduced herself to me as "Mrs Vazquez", she is known not to like the title "Ms" at. all. My professor on the other hand is quite insistent that she feels disrespected if any woman is referred to  as "Mrs." and that it.shall.be.done. her way.
  I realize that I will have to do it her way for the project I turn in for a grade, but I thought it would be an interesting etiquette question to see how ehellers would resolve the two ideas of "proper" address?

*She* feels disrespected if other women use 'Mrs'?  I think your professor needs to get over herself.  She doesn't get to make that choice for anyone except herself.  If Mrs. Vazquez prefers to use 'Mrs' that's her decision.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Ambrosia Hino on October 30, 2012, 09:21:41 AM
The professor needs to understand that each person gets to choose how they are referred to. I would point out cases with known preferences, although I might still default to "Ms" is no preference is known.

That said, and on a similar note...I get repeatedly called "Senorita" nevermind that I have been married for over 5 years now. And the offender didn't even meet me until after I was married...but she still calls me that because I'm much younger than her. EvilDH suggested that I start calling her the same (she has been remarried for 4 years and is a native Spanish speaker...she really knows better)
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: TootsNYC on October 30, 2012, 10:37:11 AM
Depends on the professor. If I thought the professor was a reasonable person on this issue, I'd have a discussion, pointing out that people, including the professor, have a right to be called by the term they choose, in the hopes that the professor would relent.

If the professor seems adamant on this issue, and you suspect using "Mrs." might affect your grade, I'd use "Ms" on everything turned in to the professor.

If Mrs. Vazquez happens to see any of that material, I'd just explain that my professor insists on "Ms" with no exceptions, and since I need a passing grade in this course, that's what I used. Any documents submitted to the museum would of course have her preferred title of "Mrs." substituted.

And if either of them complained about it after that, I'd refer them to each other and take myself out of the battlefield. Because their real problem wouldn't be with me and I wouldn't want to waste my life energy sorting out the mess. They are the ones causing the problem; let them fix it.

I'll just sit over here by Camlan and nod.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Marisol on October 30, 2012, 10:46:00 AM
I am old.

I loath "Ms" but I know that is what is accepted now so I don't fight it.
It is all politics like this in the long run, and it makes me tired.

What would you personally want to call someone who is married but did not take her husband's name?  I'm just curious because you loath "Ms" but a married woman who didn't take her husband's name can't really be "Miss" or "Mrs".  Right? 

Just trying to figure it out. 

Personally, I wish there was one "M" title for women so that we didn't have these "politics".  :)  Miss is my favorite I think.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Ms_Cellany on October 30, 2012, 10:50:08 AM
Personally, I wish there was one "M" title for women...

That would be Ms.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: #borecore on October 30, 2012, 10:54:03 AM
Personally, I wish there was one "M" title for women...

That would be Ms.

Yeah, I use "Ms." regardless of age or marital status, and I've never encountered an issue with it. If I did, I'd use what the addressee preferred (and so should the OP, except in her class assignment), though I would see it as highly unusual.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Sharnita on October 30, 2012, 10:56:49 AM
Personally, I wish there was one "M" title for women...

That would be Ms.

Yeah, I use "Ms." regardless of age or marital status, and I've never encountered an issue with it. If I did, I'd use what the addressee preferred (and so should the OP, except in her class assignment), though I would see it as highly unusual.

why?
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: #borecore on October 30, 2012, 10:58:41 AM
Personally, I wish there was one "M" title for women...

That would be Ms.

Yeah, I use "Ms." regardless of age or marital status, and I've never encountered an issue with it. If I did, I'd use what the addressee preferred (and so should the OP, except in her class assignment), though I would see it as highly unusual.

why?


Well, I'd see it as highly unusual because it has never been an issue.

Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Giggity on October 30, 2012, 11:00:23 AM
My professor on the other hand is quite insistent that she feels disrespected if any woman is referred to  as "Mrs." and that it.shall.be.done. her way.

Your professor doesn't get to decide what anyone besides her is called.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Marisol on October 30, 2012, 11:03:03 AM
Personally, I wish there was one "M" title for women...

That would be Ms.

Well yes, but what I meant was that there are other titles commonly used as well.  It would be simpler if Mrs. and Miss did not exist and women only had Ms.  I should have written "I wish there was ONLY one title".
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: DavidH on October 30, 2012, 11:18:13 AM
For a class, do what you need to in order to pass.

In the real world, I'd address a document to a female as Ms. Jones or Dr. Jones (if appropriate) unless I knew she used Mrs. or Miss.  In my field, the assumption would be that she has a PhD, so I'd probably err one the side of adding Dr. unless I knew otherwise or knew that she preferred Ms. Jones, PhD.  I would never address a document to Mrs. John Jones unless I were 100% positive that she wanted it addressed that way and even so, I'd probably default to Mrs. Jones. 

Once a person has expressed a preference, I think it is most polite to adhere to it independent of what others think should be that person's preference. 

Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: nyarlathotep on October 30, 2012, 01:49:54 PM
Well yes, but what I meant was that there are other titles commonly used as well.  It would be simpler if Mrs. and Miss did not exist and women only had Ms.  I should have written "I wish there was ONLY one title".

Personally I think it would save a lot of arguments if we just had one word for people of all genders - kind of like the Japanese "san". I know some people use "Mx" but it hasn't really caught on.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Marisol on October 30, 2012, 01:58:08 PM
Well yes, but what I meant was that there are other titles commonly used as well.  It would be simpler if Mrs. and Miss did not exist and women only had Ms.  I should have written "I wish there was ONLY one title".

Personally I think it would save a lot of arguments if we just had one word for people of all genders - kind of like the Japanese "san". I know some people use "Mx" but it hasn't really caught on.

I've never heard of that!  I like the idea a lot. 
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: cicero on October 30, 2012, 02:04:40 PM
My professor on the other hand is quite insistent that she feels disrespected if any woman is referred to  as "Mrs." and that it.shall.be.done. her way.

Your professor doesn't get to decide what anyone besides her is called.
i agree. and what if Mrs. Smith is a doctor? or Rabbi? does she still call them "Mrs."?

I have found, for example, that many european women as well as latin american women (and possibly other cultures/ethnicc areas) prefer Mrs. over Ms.  I tend to use Ms. as a default, but will ask or change according to specific person's preference.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: sunnygirl on October 30, 2012, 02:15:47 PM
I only go by Ms and get very heated about it (sometimes other people use Dr which I don't mind, but I'm a PhD not an MD so I don't use it). I don't know if it's a British thing or what, but I've encountered people who persist on asking, "is that Miss or Mrs?" and absolutely refuse to accept Ms, which does really offend me. But I don't see what the problem is with calling someone Miss or Mrs if that's their choice - I think it's pretty rude not to respect someone's preference as to their own title.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: stitchygreyanonymouse on October 30, 2012, 02:35:04 PM
Well yes, but what I meant was that there are other titles commonly used as well.  It would be simpler if Mrs. and Miss did not exist and women only had Ms.  I should have written "I wish there was ONLY one title".

Personally I think it would save a lot of arguments if we just had one word for people of all genders - kind of like the Japanese "san". I know some people use "Mx" but it hasn't really caught on.

That would be nice, but then again, -san isn’t the only Japanese honorific. -kun, -chan, -sama, -senpai… the list goes on. (Not to mention that -san can be added to other things to personify them. We wouldn’t call Mt. Fuji  Mr. Fuji in English, but it is sometimes referred to as Fugi-san in Japanese.)
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: MsApril on October 30, 2012, 03:24:33 PM
My professor on the other hand is quite insistent that she feels disrespected if any woman is referred to  as "Mrs." and that it.shall.be.done. her way.

Your professor doesn't get to decide what anyone besides her is called.
I think, in this case, the professor does get to decide because she is the one handing out the grades.
Professors can be very particular.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: SamiHami on October 30, 2012, 04:17:55 PM
My professor on the other hand is quite insistent that she feels disrespected if any woman is referred to  as "Mrs." and that it.shall.be.done. her way.

Your professor doesn't get to decide what anyone besides her is called.
I think, in this case, the professor does get to decide because she is the one handing out the grades. Professors can be very particular.

Except the professor is not the one handing out the money.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: O'Dell on October 30, 2012, 04:31:10 PM
  I realize that I will have to do it her way for the project I turn in for a grade, but I thought it would be an interesting etiquette question to see how ehellers would resolve the two ideas of "proper" address?

I go with what a person requests to be called. I go with Ms. if I'm not sure. Your prof is goofy if she personally feels disrespected based on what title others use.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: athersgeo on October 30, 2012, 04:34:31 PM
I only go by Ms and get very heated about it (sometimes other people use Dr which I don't mind, but I'm a PhD not an MD so I don't use it). I don't know if it's a British thing or what, but I've encountered people who persist on asking, "is that Miss or Mrs?" and absolutely refuse to accept Ms, which does really offend me. But I don't see what the problem is with calling someone Miss or Mrs if that's their choice - I think it's pretty rude not to respect someone's preference as to their own title.

That's interesting because my experience in the UK is the opposite. People call me Ms regardless of what I say or do. It doesn't actually bother me in a political sense (call me what you like as long as it's polite!), but it was an issue when my father was alive: we shared a first initial, so whenever a letter came addressed to someone with a two letter honorific and his initial he'd open it, assuming it was for him...

I don't know what was harder: convincing him to actually learn to read (he read perfectly well, he just chose not to) or convincing my bank to address everything to Miss (because there was no way he could mistake that!)
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: kglory on October 30, 2012, 04:38:07 PM
Does your professor know that Mrs. Vasquez prefers to be called "Mrs."?

I can see the professor teaching that, in the business world, Ms. should be the default title used for women.

But it seems like very bad business sense (in addition to bad manners) to not call a donor what she wishes to be called, once she has made those wishes clear.

We've had whole threads here about people being upset  when their first names are misspelled and mispronounced.  Calling someone by the title they don't use seems just as pig-headed and rude!
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: snowdragon on October 30, 2012, 06:44:35 PM
Does your professor know that Mrs. Vasquez prefers to be called "Mrs."?


Yes, Mrs Vasquez introduced herself to said professor as that, she always does and the Professor acknowledges knowing this. It still is considered a personal affront to the professor to refer to any female as anything but Ms.
 
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Slartibartfast on October 30, 2012, 06:48:03 PM
"Ms." is correct until you know what a woman prefers to be called.  Drives me nuts when people make assumptions about someone's title and then insist on sticking with their initial assumption even when the person in question tells them they prefer something else.  I mean, you don't have to honor calling your ex "Jason-san the White Ninja" or anything, but if he could legitimately be called one of multiple honorifics (mister, doctor, reverand, his holiness, etc.) he gets to pick which one to use and in which situations.  There are some social rules to this - someone who insisted on being called by their military rank 24/7 would get a lot of odd looks and gossip behind their back - but it's rude to unilaterally decide someone else's preferences don't matter.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Dindrane on October 30, 2012, 07:51:25 PM
If your professor is supposed to be an expert on grant writing, and has this particular attitude about titles, I think she's in a very odd line of work.

In the real world, you call the donor/entity giving the money whatever they want to be called. Failing to do so could offend your source of funds, and that's a really stupid thing to do unless your goal is actually to not get funding.

I do think it is entirely reasonable to default to Ms. in a professional capacity. I process a lot of resumes, and always use "Ms." or "Mr." unless the applicant has very clearly specified otherwise. It's the only way I can avoid making unwarranted assumptions about a person's marital status or education level. But if someone does express a preference for a specific title in some way, I go with that. I triple check to make sure I've read/understood their preference correctly, but I don't override it once I am aware of it.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: blarg314 on October 30, 2012, 08:04:43 PM

If a woman specifically tells you, herself, in a business setting, that she wants to be called "Mrs", or introduces herself that way (in writing or verbally) then you should do so (or Miss).

However, if you don't have specific instructions, then you should revert to Ms, no matter what you know about her marital status.  And it has to be from her - someone else referring to her as Mrs or Miss does not necessarily reflect her own preferences.

Also, I wouldn't automatically transfer titles used in a *social* setting to professional communication, either.  I don't use my professional title in social situations, but I would not be happy if someone dropped it in a written professional communication, and referred to me as "Ms Blarg", because using titles in formal written documents is the professional standard.

For women who prefer to be called Mrs or Miss in a professional setting, though, I think it's unreasonable to get offended or upset if an official document comes addressed to Ms, because that is the professional standard.  As the OP showed, the idea that you don't refer to a woman's marital status in professional communications is really firmly drilled in to people, and it's the safest option to default to. 
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Mental Magpie on October 30, 2012, 08:13:02 PM
I would put Mrs. in the proposal with an annotation that Mrs. Vasquez requested to be referred to as such.  That way you're acknowledging your professor's preference and letting your professor know you're also acknowledging Mrs. Vasquez's preference.  Frankly, I would go to my professor and refuse to refer to Mrs. Vasquez by anything other than what she requested.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: KenveeB on October 30, 2012, 10:10:44 PM
I dislike Mrs in a professional setting because I don't think your marital status has anything to do with your job. The standard at my job is to use Ms for all women, so it seems especially bizarre when someone is specifically called out as Mrs. But if I knew someone preferred it, I would try to remember to use it.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Sharnita on October 30, 2012, 10:12:55 PM
I dislike Mrs in a professional setting because I don't think your marital status has anything to do with your job. The standard at my job is to use Ms for all women, so it seems especially bizarre when someone is specifically called out as Mrs. But if I knew someone preferred it, I would try to remember to use it.

I think treating people respectfully and making them feel comfortable has to do with your/their job. I think that they see themselves as Mrs. Lastname and that probably doesn't change whether they are at work or not.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: KenveeB on October 30, 2012, 10:27:06 PM
I dislike Mrs in a professional setting because I don't think your marital status has anything to do with your job. The standard at my job is to use Ms for all women, so it seems especially bizarre when someone is specifically called out as Mrs. But if I knew someone preferred it, I would try to remember to use it.

I think treating people respectfully and making them feel comfortable has to do with your/their job. I think that they see themselves as Mrs. Lastname and that probably doesn't change whether they are at work or not.

Men can just see themselves as Mr. Lastname regardless but women have to make the distinction and decide what "message" they want to send just by their darned title.  :P I think that the professional world is better left neutral without having to announce details of your personal life just by introducing yourself. Interacting with someone on a personal basis will have something to do with their relationship status, depending, so using different titles makes at least a little sense there. Whether I'm married or the other attorney in the courtroom is married has absolutely zero to do with our jobs, so I don't see any reason to have distinguishing titles.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: snowdragon on October 30, 2012, 10:33:18 PM
I dislike Mrs in a professional setting because I don't think your marital status has anything to do with your job. The standard at my job is to use Ms for all women, so it seems especially bizarre when someone is specifically called out as Mrs. But if I knew someone preferred it, I would try to remember to use it.

I think treating people respectfully and making them feel comfortable has to do with your/their job. I think that they see themselves as Mrs. Lastname and that probably doesn't change whether they are at work or not.

Men can just see themselves as Mr. Lastname regardless but women have to make the distinction and decide what "message" they want to send just by their darned title.  :P I think that the professional world is better left neutral without having to announce details of your personal life just by introducing yourself. Interacting with someone on a personal basis will have something to do with their relationship status, depending, so using different titles makes at least a little sense there. Whether I'm married or the other attorney in the courtroom is married has absolutely zero to do with our jobs, so I don't see any reason to have distinguishing titles.

yes, but do you take personal offense if someone feels they want to be called Mrs or Miss? 
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Mental Magpie on October 30, 2012, 10:48:59 PM
I dislike Mrs in a professional setting because I don't think your marital status has anything to do with your job. The standard at my job is to use Ms for all women, so it seems especially bizarre when someone is specifically called out as Mrs. But if I knew someone preferred it, I would try to remember to use it.

I think treating people respectfully and making them feel comfortable has to do with your/their job. I think that they see themselves as Mrs. Lastname and that probably doesn't change whether they are at work or not.

Men can just see themselves as Mr. Lastname regardless but women have to make the distinction and decide what "message" they want to send just by their darned title.  :P I think that the professional world is better left neutral without having to announce details of your personal life just by introducing yourself. Interacting with someone on a personal basis will have something to do with their relationship status, depending, so using different titles makes at least a little sense there. Whether I'm married or the other attorney in the courtroom is married has absolutely zero to do with our jobs, so I don't see any reason to have distinguishing titles.

I'm not sending any message.  Just because someone else chooses to receive one, I'm still not actually sending one.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Sharnita on October 30, 2012, 10:57:12 PM
Should people leave off the wedding ring at work as well if it important to avoid sendind a message?
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: nyarlathotep on October 31, 2012, 04:34:01 AM
Should people leave off the wedding ring at work as well if it important to avoid sendind a message?

That's a false comparison because wedding rings are common to both genders. Men don't have to indicate marital status by their titles, so why should we? But I'm not sure I agree that nobody should use "Mrs" or "Miss" at work (although it would make addressing letters/emails a whole lot easier). I guess it depends on your workplace culture.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: DaisyG on October 31, 2012, 05:43:23 AM
That said, and on a similar note...I get repeatedly called "Senorita" nevermind that I have been married for over 5 years now. And the offender didn't even meet me until after I was married...but she still calls me that because I'm much younger than her. EvilDH suggested that I start calling her the same (she has been remarried for 4 years and is a native Spanish speaker...she really knows better)

Sorry to disagree with Ambrosia Hino, but I don't believe this is the same. In my experience, Señorita is generally used for young women and Señora for adult women - I would definitely use Señora for women over 25-ish or in any professional capacity regardless of their marital status.

However, with regard to the OP, I concur with other posters that we should use 'Ms' unless another preference has been stated and as Mrs Vasquez prefers 'Mrs' we should remember that, the same as calling a person by their middle name when they do not use their first name.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Yvaine on October 31, 2012, 07:08:26 AM
"Ms." is correct until you know what a woman prefers to be called.  Drives me nuts when people make assumptions about someone's title and then insist on sticking with their initial assumption even when the person in question tells them they prefer something else.  I mean, you don't have to honor calling your ex "Jason-san the White Ninja" or anything,

I love how good old Jason just never goes away. He's the gift that keeps on giving.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Sharnita on October 31, 2012, 08:12:35 AM
Should people leave off the wedding ring at work as well if it important to avoid sendind a message?

That's a false comparison because wedding rings are common to both genders. Men don't have to indicate marital status by their titles, so why should we? But I'm not sure I agree that nobody should use "Mrs" or "Miss" at work (although it would make addressing letters/emails a whole lot easier). I guess it depends on your workplace culture.

But still. it has nothing to do with their work so since that was the argument ...
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: DistantStar on October 31, 2012, 10:25:24 AM
I work with the public, and what I do involves sending out confirmations, which require a title.  For women, unless specifically told otherwise, I use Ms, which is probably 99% of the time.  I can't imagine anything ruder than deliberately overriding somebody's preference, though I do have to bite my tongue pretty hard at "Mrs. John Smith" and variants upon -- way too old fashioned for me and I always want to say, "You have a name too!"  Of course I wouldn't with a guest.

Nobody addresses me as Miss except for my elderly grandma.  She's 92 so I am not going to get into it with her.  I would never in a million years use Miss for a grown woman unless she specifically requested it, though!

Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: KenveeB on October 31, 2012, 12:38:52 PM
I dislike Mrs in a professional setting because I don't think your marital status has anything to do with your job. The standard at my job is to use Ms for all women, so it seems especially bizarre when someone is specifically called out as Mrs. But if I knew someone preferred it, I would try to remember to use it.

I think treating people respectfully and making them feel comfortable has to do with your/their job. I think that they see themselves as Mrs. Lastname and that probably doesn't change whether they are at work or not.

Men can just see themselves as Mr. Lastname regardless but women have to make the distinction and decide what "message" they want to send just by their darned title.  :P I think that the professional world is better left neutral without having to announce details of your personal life just by introducing yourself. Interacting with someone on a personal basis will have something to do with their relationship status, depending, so using different titles makes at least a little sense there. Whether I'm married or the other attorney in the courtroom is married has absolutely zero to do with our jobs, so I don't see any reason to have distinguishing titles.

yes, but do you take personal offense if someone feels they want to be called Mrs or Miss?

No, and as I already said, I'd use it if I knew of the preference. (Or at least I'd try. It's honestly so rare where I am that I'd have a hard time remembering!) Just explaining why I don't LIKE it. And honestly, women who specify Miss or Mrs just reinforce that people need to keep asking my marital status when they meet me ("Is it Ms or Mrs?"), so that's why I find it personally annoying. It's not something that has NO bearing on me.

On the wedding ring, I don't find that an apt comparison because what you wear isn't part of your job or have anything to do with me. How you ask me to address you on a professional basis is and does.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Ida on October 31, 2012, 06:36:47 PM
OP, I'd bet I'm twice the sniny-fanged rabid old-line feminist your professor is, and call me "Ms Said" if we're not on a first-name basis thankyouverymuch, and you know what? If someone wants to be called "Mrs. Whoozits" that's what I call her. I think Miss Manners has it right on this one.

I think Miss Manners has it right on many things, come to think of it. In some interesting ways, she's quite the radical herself.

I do find it useful to filter out anyone who calls here asking for "Mrs. DH" because DH and I have both kept our original surnames. If I'm grouchy enough, I assume the call is for my late MIL* and inform the caller that she passed away some years ago. Generally, I just say "No thanks" and hang up.

(*She was the only person allowed to call me "Mrs. DH" and used that privilege only when Miss Manners would have approved, btw; when she gave us monogrammed gifts, mine had my "maiden" monogram or my real-world daily use-name. My own mother would've been allowed to call me whatever she liked of course, but she knew my preferences and kept to them. She did use my childhood diminutive, but hey; see previous sentence. She also called me "Mrs. Murphy" sometimes, a joke that nobody but her, me, and my late dad got.) 

Recently, because incomes are shrinking, we downscaled our joint ("Family"?) membership in a beloved science/conservation group to a single membership, with guest privileges. We got a wallet card (and I just got confirmation email;) for Myfirstname Hislastname, which will just confuse everyone. The renewal check was from a joint bank account in both our names. His name is first on the check because I high-handedly decided they should be in alphabetical order. I'm still not sure how the org came up with the result.

We're both laughing at it, anyway. He's been called "Mr. Mylastname" a few times over the years... Eventually, you just have to laugh.

OP, I'd go with the recommendation that you make the stipulation that some PPs have mentioned on anything you have to hand your professor, reminding her of Mrs. Donor's preference. Might set her teeth on edge; might set my teeth on edge; too dingdangity bad—it's not her name or mine.



Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Shea on October 31, 2012, 07:02:27 PM
I prefer Ms. personally, and if I don't know what a woman prefers to be called, I use Ms. by default. That said, I think that it's far more disrespectful to refuse to call a woman by her preferred title (assuming she's not demanding to be called Dr. when she's not one, or some other title she hasn't earned). If a woman prefers Miss or Mrs., that's what should be used.

However, if you know your professor will lower your grade for using Mrs. (which is utterly ridiculous, and I say that as a proud feminist), you should probably use Ms. It's not worth risking your grade.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Editeer on October 31, 2012, 07:11:31 PM
You can always blame technology and say, " I understand your preference, Mrs. Vasquez, but the computer only lets us enter Mr or Ms."  ;)
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: WonderWoman on November 01, 2012, 12:56:47 PM
Pass the class by doing what prof says. But in the real world, I echo previous posters who say to respect the preference of the individual woman.

I have been a "Ms." since I was a teenager. I recall correcting a salesman who called me, "Miss," when I was 18.
I told him, "It's Ms."
"Ms.? I didn't think anyone went by that anymore," he said.
"I do," I replied.

For me, it comes down to the fact that I don't want to be identified by my relationship to a man. "Mr" says nothing about a man's marital status. But Miss/Mrs immediately identifies a woman's. My sexual availability/unavailability is not relevant to anyone but me. (Well, and DH.  ;D)
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: ladyknight1 on November 01, 2012, 01:14:31 PM
When I was hired at the university six years ago, my then boss and human resources representative insisted I use Ms. instead of Mrs. on my hiring forms. She altered the forms after I completed them and was adamant for the six months I worked for her that I only refer to female staff as Dr. or Ms., never anything else.

I just don't get the insistence on using Ms. when the person doesn't agree.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: KenveeB on November 01, 2012, 02:24:33 PM
From an HR standpoint, maybe it was to prevent (or in response to) claims of discrimination based on marital status?
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: blarg314 on November 02, 2012, 08:46:03 PM

One thing I would suggest in a professional setting -

If a document is to be passed through multiple people, or someone else might be reading it (other than the recipient), then attach a post-it or make an annotation somewhere in the files that the recipient prefers to be called Mrs (or Miss).  That way *you* avoid the issue of being considered unprofessional by using titles in a way that doesn't conform to the standard.

If you work for a company where the policy is to use "Ms" in all cases, then you should probably revert to that, even if you know that the other person prefers Mrs or Miss, to protect yourself.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Kiwichick on November 03, 2012, 02:41:58 PM
I am old.

I loath "Ms" but I know that is what is accepted now so I don't fight it.
It is all politics like this in the long run, and it makes me tired.

What would you personally want to call someone who is married but did not take her husband's name?  I'm just curious because you loath "Ms" but a married woman who didn't take her husband's name can't really be "Miss" or "Mrs".  Right? 

Just trying to figure it out. 

Personally, I wish there was one "M" title for women so that we didn't have these "politics".  :)  Miss is my favorite I think.

I've been Mrs Mymaidenname for the 15+ years I've been married.  Why on earth can't I be a Mrs if I haven't taken his name?
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Horace on November 03, 2012, 04:52:35 PM
I think I'm in the minority but I loathe "Ms".  I have noticed that in the last couple of years I've started being referred to as "Ms [LastName]" and I've asked the companies involved to use "Miss" unless I tell them otherwise.  As far as I'm concerned, I will be a "Miss" until/if I get married and then I'll become a "Mrs".  However, I would never dream to address someone whose preference was "Ms" as anything else.  I was always brought up to address people in the way they introduced themselves and calling them anything different would be incredibly rude
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: MariaE on November 03, 2012, 07:20:40 PM
I think I'm in the minority but I loathe "Ms".  I have noticed that in the last couple of years I've started being referred to as "Ms [LastName]" and I've asked the companies involved to use "Miss" unless I tell them otherwise.  As far as I'm concerned, I will be a "Miss" until/if I get married and then I'll become a "Mrs".  However, I would never dream to address someone whose preference was "Ms" as anything else.  I was always brought up to address people in the way they introduced themselves and calling them anything different would be incredibly rude

I'm right there with you!

Not to mention that I honestly can't hear the difference between Ms and Miss. They sound as similar as write and right to me... Meaning I might accidentally offend people because they think I'm calling them Miss when I really think I'm saying Ms. In the part of New Zealand I grew up in they sounded exactly the same.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 03, 2012, 07:44:24 PM
I think I'm in the minority but I loathe "Ms".  I have noticed that in the last couple of years I've started being referred to as "Ms [LastName]" and I've asked the companies involved to use "Miss" unless I tell them otherwise.  As far as I'm concerned, I will be a "Miss" until/if I get married and then I'll become a "Mrs".  However, I would never dream to address someone whose preference was "Ms" as anything else.  I was always brought up to address people in the way they introduced themselves and calling them anything different would be incredibly rude

I'm right there with you!

Not to mention that I honestly can't hear the difference between Ms and Miss. They sound as similar as write and right to me... Meaning I might accidentally offend people because they think I'm calling them Miss when I really think I'm saying Ms. In the part of New Zealand I grew up in they sounded exactly the same.

Ms., to me, is pronounced Mizz like in misery while Miss is pronounced like in mistake.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: MariaE on November 03, 2012, 07:50:28 PM
I think I'm in the minority but I loathe "Ms".  I have noticed that in the last couple of years I've started being referred to as "Ms [LastName]" and I've asked the companies involved to use "Miss" unless I tell them otherwise.  As far as I'm concerned, I will be a "Miss" until/if I get married and then I'll become a "Mrs".  However, I would never dream to address someone whose preference was "Ms" as anything else.  I was always brought up to address people in the way they introduced themselves and calling them anything different would be incredibly rude

I'm right there with you!

Not to mention that I honestly can't hear the difference between Ms and Miss. They sound as similar as write and right to me... Meaning I might accidentally offend people because they think I'm calling them Miss when I really think I'm saying Ms. In the part of New Zealand I grew up in they sounded exactly the same.

Ms., to me, is pronounced Mizz like in misery while Miss is pronounced like in mistake.

See, those 'mis'-sounds sound the same to me too ;)
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 03, 2012, 07:53:08 PM
I think I'm in the minority but I loathe "Ms".  I have noticed that in the last couple of years I've started being referred to as "Ms [LastName]" and I've asked the companies involved to use "Miss" unless I tell them otherwise.  As far as I'm concerned, I will be a "Miss" until/if I get married and then I'll become a "Mrs".  However, I would never dream to address someone whose preference was "Ms" as anything else.  I was always brought up to address people in the way they introduced themselves and calling them anything different would be incredibly rude

I'm right there with you!

Not to mention that I honestly can't hear the difference between Ms and Miss. They sound as similar as write and right to me... Meaning I might accidentally offend people because they think I'm calling them Miss when I really think I'm saying Ms. In the part of New Zealand I grew up in they sounded exactly the same.

Ms., to me, is pronounced Mizz like in misery while Miss is pronounced like in mistake.

See, those 'mis'-sounds sound the same to me too ;)

Haha, then I don't know what to tell you  :D .  I can definitely hear a difference.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: sunnygirl on November 04, 2012, 05:18:48 AM
I've been Mrs Mymaidenname for the 15+ years I've been married.  Why on earth can't I be a Mrs if I haven't taken his name?
I don't think there's anything wrong at all, or even unusual, about someone going by Mrs Maiden name. It's a personal choice. Being married and wanting to use a married title doesn't have anything to do with the decision which surname to use, imo.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Sara Crewe on November 04, 2012, 12:28:20 PM


I've been Mrs Mymaidenname for the 15+ years I've been married.  Why on earth can't I be a Mrs if I haven't taken his name?

The way it was explained to me is that 'Mrs. Smith' means married to Mr. Smith.  If you continue to use your maiden name of Jones, as you are not married to Mr. Jones, you cannot be Mrs. Jones, only Ms. or Miss.

Personally, I don't care - it should be up to the individual woman.  The two women I know best who haven't changed their names professionally, both use their husband's name in their personal life.  One uses Ms. Maidenname at work and the other is a medical doctor and therefore the issue doesn't apply, as she is addressed as Dr. Maidenname.

Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Marisol on November 05, 2012, 11:48:41 AM


I've been Mrs Mymaidenname for the 15+ years I've been married.  Why on earth can't I be a Mrs if I haven't taken his name?

The way it was explained to me is that 'Mrs. Smith' means married to Mr. Smith.  If you continue to use your maiden name of Jones, as you are not married to Mr. Jones, you cannot be Mrs. Jones, only Ms. or Miss.

That is what I was thinking.  If I kept my last name I would personally find it hard to call myself Mrs. Maidenname because I am not married to Mr. Maidenname.  I'm married to Mr. Hislastname.  But if someone called me Mrs. Hislastname socially I would agree that I am also Mrs. Hislastname. 

But really you can do what ever you want to do it seems.  Most people don't care.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Twik on November 05, 2012, 12:20:18 PM
Well, if we look at it historically, "Mrs" did not originate as a way of saying "married to Mr. soandso". It was, at one time, merely the way you would address someone as an adult female or householder (mistress of the house).

So, for the correct usage of "Mrs" in this time period, I'd say it's whatever one wants.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Kiwichick on November 06, 2012, 06:12:52 PM


I've been Mrs Mymaidenname for the 15+ years I've been married.  Why on earth can't I be a Mrs if I haven't taken his name?

The way it was explained to me is that 'Mrs. Smith' means married to Mr. Smith.  If you continue to use your maiden name of Jones, as you are not married to Mr. Jones, you cannot be Mrs. Jones, only Ms. or Miss.

That is what I was thinking.  If I kept my last name I would personally find it hard to call myself Mrs. Maidenname because I am not married to Mr. Maidenname.  I'm married to Mr. Hislastname.  But if someone called me Mrs. Hislastname socially I would agree that I am also Mrs. Hislastname. 

But really you can do what ever you want to do it seems.  Most people don't care.

My question was rhetorical and in response to a poster that said a woman who didn't take her husband's name couldn't be  a Miss or Mrs.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Mad Goat Woman on November 12, 2012, 12:24:20 AM
I personally prefer Ms on all my government and other paperwork, because to me, it's nobody's business but my own what my marital status is-- it's a better option than Miss, even though I technically am unmarried, and have no partner. I feel that Miss is too juvenile for my tastes, and Ms Goat sounds better than Miss Goat.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: Lauren on November 14, 2012, 09:46:45 AM
Quote
I work with the public, and what I do involves sending out confirmations, which require a title.  For women, unless specifically told otherwise, I use Ms, which is probably 99% of the time.  I can't imagine anything ruder than deliberately overriding somebody's preference, though I do have to bite my tongue pretty hard at "Mrs. John Smith" and variants upon -- way too old fashioned for me and I always want to say, "You have a name too!"  Of course I wouldn't with a guest.

That's how I treat it too. Whenever I send letters I check if I have their honorific and send what I have on file. If it's someone who is not a normal contact it's Ms.

I'm personally an aboustle Ms fanatic. Men do not have to announce their marriage status by their honorific why should I? I understand using Miss for girls and even teenagers (I went by Miss till about age 16) I know my brother went by Master but I do think that has fallen by the wayside (and I'm under 30 so not THAT long ago) When I get married I'll be changing my name (my fiancee and I were discussing about changing both our names, but it's something that horrifies his parents and doesn't really bother me, so looks like I'm changing to his) but staying as a Ms.

I would still go by a person's wishes though.
Title: Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
Post by: WillyNilly on November 14, 2012, 10:06:32 AM


I've been Mrs Mymaidenname for the 15+ years I've been married.  Why on earth can't I be a Mrs if I haven't taken his name?

The way it was explained to me is that 'Mrs. Smith' means married to Mr. Smith.  If you continue to use your maiden name of Jones, as you are not married to Mr. Jones, you cannot be Mrs. Jones, only Ms. or Miss.

Personally, I don't care - it should be up to the individual woman.  The two women I know best who haven't changed their names professionally, both use their husband's name in their personal life.  One uses Ms. Maidenname at work and the other is a medical doctor and therefore the issue doesn't apply, as she is addressed as Dr. Maidenname.

It was explained to you wrong.  ;D

Mrs is the female head of household. 

Now the thing is, in past times women alone could not be a head of household, she would have to marry to become so.  (For example even as recently as the 1930's when my grandmother graduated college and moved to NY to become a nurse she could not live in her own apartment.  The hospital required unmarried staff to live with their parents to in dormitories.  Being her own head of household in a small apartment was not allowed even though she had a degree and financially supported herself!  And that was an enlightened time when women could get educations and jobs and even vote - but they couldn't be heads of household.) So therefore in that political/legal sense one could only be "Mrs" if one was married.  But that was a technicality, a default, not the end all.  The end all of Mrs is "mistress" as in the mistress (head of) the household.  Technically, grammatically, any woman who supports herself is a Mrs - so once you move out of your parents home and start paying your own bills you are a "Mrs" marriage not withstanding.

Common usage =/= only proper usage.