Jess McCabe // 29 April 2006
The French government has been urged to change its official forms and documents so that women do not have to choose between being a mademoiselle or a madame, the Feminist Majority Foundation reports.
The largest feminist organization in France, Les Chiennes de Guarde (The Guard Dogs), supports the appeal, on the grounds that using both titles is discriminatory, as it unfairly requires women to disclose their marital status and sexual availability. The petition will require 7,000 signatures to move forward – so far, 2,300 have been collected online.
Of course, the French do not have an equivilent to Ms, so must choose between Miss and Mrs, essentially.
It’s funny how used we’ve become to Ms in the English-speaking world, so that it’s hard to imagine not having it as that third option, that comes without any connotations of marriagability. So it seems a little weird to be fighting for the right to be Mrs. I’ve noticed that quite often if someone from, say, Germany, writes or emails me at work, I get addressed as “Mrs”. I even had to get a plane ticket corrected for that reason once. Maybe I wasn’t understanding the context, but it made me bristle.
Maybe our French sisters should consider an equivilent to Ms? Or maybe Madame is not so politically charged as Mrs.