31 January 2013

Sexism from the cradle - why does it only seem to bother me?

One of the things that gets me all het up, hot under the collar and well - mad (despite being old enough to know better and a very solid grasp of how this is a 'little thing') is people addressing me as Mrs.  Just because I'm married.  When I was single, I didn't go by Miss.  Since I was old enough to know I had the choice, I've been Ms.

Mail addressed to Mrs enrages me.  The only exception is people of very advanced years because I understand for them its an ingrained etiquette and they appear flabbergasted that I've given this any thought.  And when you're that old - you can ignore me. But only when you're that old.

I never fill in a form with Mrs.  But the nameless faces of customer service in nearly every organisation see married and they start sending me mail addressed to Mrs.  They presume to assume I made a mistake on the form.  I insist on cards being reissued if they use Mrs.  My daughters are not Miss either.  All their paperwork is Ms. Because quite frankly - they deserve the privacy of Ms until they choose their own way.

Its bolshie behaviour.  I do understand that.  But my marital status is nobody's business.  The fact that assumptions are still being made about women based on whether or not they are a Miss or a Mrs infuriates me.  Boys growing into men are not discriminated against by title.  Nobody can assume a maritial status, an age, a life experience, anything BUT gender based on the two letters M and R.  They remain a blank slate until they choose to expose themselves.

But for all women in the Western English speaking world, their titles define themselves by the relationship they are in.  It's antiquated, its unnecessary and it's inherently discriminatory because people do make assumptions, they do form preconceptions.  And then there are the women that revel in becoming Mrs as it proclaims to the world that 'they got themselves a pardner'.  It pains me. They were awesome before that.

If I was to run the world as of tomorrow, of course I'd put the emphasis on equality and world peace (DER!) but the next thing I'd do is ban Miss and Mrs.  I would rub them right out of the dictionary and they would become things of yesteryear, to be exclaimed over with the same disbelief as sacrificial virgins and the like.  You can keep your Doctors, your Dames and what not, I'm not bothered with intellectual or hierarchical affectations - its the sexism that's bred into us from day one that bothers me, when at birth a female's card is marked as UNMARRIED and a male's card is marked MALE.

Unacceptable.  Simply unacceptable.