Titles should not identify one’s relationship status


   When you address your teacher or someone older than you with a title, have you ever gotten women’s titles mixed up, or called one by the “wrong” formality?

   The mixed history of why women have gained their titles is a topic society doesn’t pay much mind to. We go about our everyday lives calling our female teachers Mrs. or Miss or Ms. without thinking about why a man has only one option while women have multiple. This idea, in itself, is problematic.

   The reasons behind it are outdated in our modern world, yet no one rushes to change the issue. The title given to a man and a woman differ based on their marital status. A man will be addressed as Mr. no matter his relationship status. A woman, on the other hand, gets addressed entirely based on her relationship status. 

   Mrs. refers to a woman who is married, followed by the surname she had taken from her husband. The title roots from Mr. implying that once the woman marries, she belongs to her husband. It indirectly hints that she is Mister’s. 

   Miss usually applies to a young, unmarried woman. 

   Ms. is a neutral title for women, the closest thing to Mr. It can be used when you do not know their marital status, though some married women prefer the neutral title. 

   Men do not have to worry about what their title means. A man has been addressed as an individual, while a woman’s title depends on a man and whether or not she is tied to one. 

   An idea for a better term could be a gender-neutral one. Mx. (pronounced mix) has been going around for those who identify as non-binary, but it’s not a bad idea for women who do not want to be subjected to the title handed to them. 

   Another solution is calling a teacher or authority figure by their last name. It takes away any kind of implication, and it has worked for many teachers on campus. 

   One may argue that there’s no deeper meaning of different titles other than it is a formality and a sign of respect, but just as sexist language has progressed throughout history, formalities should also be able to progress for the better. 

   The question on a form that makes one state whether or not they are married is an association a woman should not have to specify because of how our modern world has changed in terms of women having jobs. 

   The knowledge of a woman’s marital status could influence how she is treated in a workplace because of the assumption that if she is married, she might leave and have kids–stunting her opportunity to get promotions or long-term benefits.  

   So the next time you consider how you want to be addressed, consider a new term that might help change the next generations or an old term that does not indicate marital status.