Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

No more vs. Ms? June 29, 2007

Filed under: bias,gender,language — stoat @ 8:47 am

Interesting article here on the need to ditch ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’. But problems with getting ‘Ms’ to be properly understood: Eve Kay reports that when entering her info for a CRB check, she discovered they assumed that ‘Ms’ meant ‘divorced woman’. Perhaps more widespread usage would help with avoiding such confusions… But:

Kay anecdotally notes that that she found women under 30 to be  unfamiliar with the title ‘Ms’. We need more high profile ‘Ms’s’, clearly! Here‘s one.

For discussion of the ‘Ms, miss, mrs’ issues, see Saul (2003), Levin (he’s pro miss/mrs 1981), Soble (1981) and Purdy (1981).


4 Responses to “No more vs. Ms?”

  1. Lisa Says:

    I’ve had many students tell me that they thought “Ms.” meant “divorced woman.” The first couple times I heard this I thought it was strange and so ridicuous as to almost be funny. But then I discovered that each semester, a good handful of students believed this. Some of them even insisted that this is what their teacher (in junior high) taught them!

  2. JP Says:

    I wonder if what Lisa describes constitutes an urban legend.

    I am not especially keen on “Prof” or “Dr,” but I remain shocked that my students – and, too often, people in the administration – are unaware that they selectively reserve the term for the guys.

  3. Cheers for the Ms. Dynamite link! If there’s one thing I’ve always said philosophy needs more of, it’s female MCs.

  4. stoat Says:

    Rachel, these links may be of interest to you, both with interviews discussing female MC-ing in the UK and the US:

    I actually haven’t had a chance to listen to the interviews in full yet, but am looking forward to doing so!

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