Monday, 21 April 2008

Miss, Mrs, Ms

My need to examine this latest dilemma has only arisen by accident.

As many of you will know, commenting on BBC blogs such as Ouch now requires a quick and easy sign-up to the BBC in general. A couple of minutes and you can comment anywhere and post on BBC messageboards.

This is something I had been doing for a while over at BBC Gardening (yes, I know...I don't actually garden but I do want to know stuff sometimes) and sometimes at Ouch, but I had to use another name as Seahorse was taken.

Well, I want to use Seahorse at Ouch now it's needed for commenting as I've guested for them, so MsSeahorse was born. And actually, I use Ms in other areas of my life so why not my online identity? Yes, plain old Seahorse would have been great, but because the BBC is so massive it had already been bagged as an ID.

I used to think people who used Ms were somewhat pretentious or had an inflated opinion of themselves. Well, that surely can't apply to me now can it? So I've changed my mind. I'm the other side of a separation and too old to be a Miss anyway so it seems quite appropriate. And I have acquired a certain haughtiness which I attribute to being in pain a lot.

For what it's worth I think Miss should never be used as it's quite old-fashioned really, and irritates in much the same way as Mademoiselle - how patronising to refer to a young woman in such a way. Mrs is something I will never, ever consider evereverever, so Ms it is.


The Goldfish said...

I did a post about this a while back and as I said there, when I was growing up I assumed that everyone my generation would be known as Ms (well, the ladies, anyway). This was largely influenced by the children's book "Ms Wiz spells trouble", the author of which actually found my blog post and commented on it (which was very very cool).

seahorse said...

Wow! That is truly cool. Thanks for the link Ms Goldfish. It adds a great deal to my brief pondering. I may well declare a Ms hour every so often where I address everyone online as Ms, male or female. Ms Marmite, Ms Unreliable and Ms Donimo. Liking it already. And we already have Miss Vertigo! Miss V, could you be persuaded to become a Ms?

Sally said...

Becoming a Ms began nearly twenty years ago when I returned to work and realised the organisation assumed that as I was a Mrs they didn't need to pay me the correct salary as I wouldn't need the money as I had a husband to support me. That was my first experience of local government !

seahorse said...

Hi Sally. So did you get the correct salary in the end?

D Phoenix said...

It's interesting to hear about different reactions to the label depending on the context. I don't think it's heard as a negative or bitchy thing to use Ms in Canada... or that's my impression. I find that online some women use Ms in a cheeky way to imply that they are playful yet somehow serious and deserving of respect. Take MsPet, for example.

It was interesting to read Goldfish's piece on it. I didn't know that Mrs was so recent. It's good to be Ms-informed!

seahorse said...

Ms-informed. Like it. Today the computer at a local store wouldn't accept me as a Ms. I printed out as a Mrs! Imagine the horror.