Just about everyone, as it turns out. Pretty much every form I fill in, whether on paper or online, asks whether I am Miss, Ms or Mrs. We’re talking doctors, vets, kids’ schools, insurers, car breakdown people, social media accounts, charities etc, ad infinitum.
I am forty five years old and everyone wants to know whether I’m married or not. My son is eighteen and no one gives a toss, because he’s ‘Mr’ and that’s the end of it. Ditto my boyfriend (42 and a bit). Come to think of it, even my youngest son gets called Mr on paperwork, and he’s just turned eleven. Regardless of age, they’re just ‘men’ and that’s all anyone needs to know.
Me, tho? Different story altogether. Apparently it is important to the social media company I signed up to this morning to know whether I am married (if I was, perhaps they should ask whether it’s happily or not, cos I reckon that’s more relevant) or a spinster of this parish.
A quick Facebook rant later and it appears that it’s not just me who finds this double standard irksome (although the academics amongst my friends are irritatingly gleeful that they get the choice of ‘Professor’ or ‘Dr’ instead, thus giving them a gender neutral option). Most of us seem to end up using the default ‘Ms’, but with the resigned acceptance that has air of disgruntled divorcee about it.
Why should anyone’s name be an indicator of their marital status, anyway? An article that I read on the BBC earlier today talks about how fewer women now take their husband’s surname when they marry, which makes absolutely logical sense to me. I personally chose my name and I use it all over my professional profiles as well as social media. Why the hell would I want to mess up my ‘brand image’ just because I’d legally tied myself to another human being?
What title do you use when you’re faced with the current options? Do you think it’s time for a change? If so – what the hell do we call ourselves??