Author Topic: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?  (Read 9569 times)

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blarg314

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2012, 09:04:43 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. 

Mental Magpie

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2012, 09:13:02 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.
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KenveeB

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2012, 11:10:44 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.

Sharnita

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2012, 11:12:55 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.

KenveeB

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2012, 11:27:06 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.

snowdragon

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2012, 11:33:18 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? 

Mental Magpie

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2012, 11:48:59 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.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Sharnita

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #37 on: October 30, 2012, 11:57:12 PM »
Should people leave off the wedding ring at work as well if it important to avoid sendind a message?

nyarlathotep

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2012, 05:34:01 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.

DaisyG

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2012, 06:43:23 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.

Yvaine

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2012, 08:08:26 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

Sharnita

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2012, 09:12:35 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 ...

DistantStar

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #42 on: October 31, 2012, 11:25:24 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!


KenveeB

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2012, 01:38:52 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.

Ida

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Re: "Ms" the [b]only[/b] acceptable title for women?
« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2012, 07:36:47 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.



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