Children addressing adults - explain the "Miss" thing to me - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 102 Old 11-21-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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I have a couple of thoughts only marginally related to the original post :lol but related to the direction this thread has taken. I think the clear issue in the original post was asking what OP preferred and then ignoring it.

 

However, in terms of form of address:

 

1. It was a convention in the English language to address all adult women as "mistress," BEFORE it became separated into "miss" and "mrs." So there was a tradition NOT to care about marital status in addressing women, but we abandoned it along the way.

 

2. As we can see in this thread, a big part of the issue with formal address is that we all have strong feelings on the "Mrs/Miss/Ms" thing, in different directions. Many other languages have solved this, especially in European countries. In Germany, for example, as a PP mentioned, address is formal by default, period. However, the big difference is that Germany has changed their conventions over the past, I don't know, 60 years? so that any adult woman is Frau, period. The word "Fräulein" (Miss) still exists, but is just not in use for adult women. So "Frau" is the default address for adult women and no one gets offended to be called it. So long as we cling to the idea that women get different forms of address for different marital status, we will always have problems with some of us feeling strongly that we DON'T want to be called Mrs/Ms/Miss whatever.

 

3. Finally, it's obvious from this thread that there's currently no one right answer, and one thing that it's helped me to realize is that other people have MASSIVELY different associations with words than I do. Forms of address that give me a knee-jerk HATE reaction are endearing to others! One example for me is "lady." I HATE the word lady and teach my DS to call unknown women "woman" rather than "lady" (as in "that woman we met at the restaurant asked how old I was.") I know the traditional definition of "lady" is positive, but my association with it is (picture the crassest man you possibly can): "Hey lady! You forgot one of your grocery bags over here!" Just unpleasant. So I'm sure some of you LOVE to be called lady, and I hate it! Just food for thought-- we can't please everyone, but knowing that others feel differently can help us recognize why someone's uncomfortable with a form of address we love.

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#92 of 102 Old 11-21-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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That's interesting about Ms. being "invented" in the 70's.  That makes perfect sense to me.  I don't remember which PP explained that, but thanks!



It wasn't invented in the 70's... unless you're talking about the 1670's!  I don't know who said this, but they're wrong.  While it was not used as much for a time, it's been very much in use for over 100 years and was prior to that, centuries ago.  headscratch.gif

 

Formal forms of address have been around for a long, long time... and in some circles are still used (especially in written correspondence, which does still happen for many people.)

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#93 of 102 Old 11-21-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Ms as in "Ms" was used centuries ago? Not "mistress" or "missus", but "Ms"? Can I see some references for that?


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#94 of 102 Old 11-21-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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Ms as in "Ms" was used centuries ago? Not "mistress" or "missus", but "Ms"? Can I see some references for that?



Google "etymology of ms."  I don't know if it was used in spoken language, but it was used in the written language that far back.  It fell out of use, but it certainly wasn't "invented" in the 1970's.

 

From wiki:

 

"Ms.", along with "Miss" and "Mrs.", began to be used as early as the 17th century as titles derived from the then formal "Mistress", which, like Mister, did not originally bear reference to marital status.[4][5] "Ms." however, fell into disuse in favor of the other two titles and was not revived until the 20th century.[6][7]

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#95 of 102 Old 11-21-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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Huh. So does "modern" Ms officially stand for "mistress" too, or is it meant to be a complete title in and of itself?

 

One factoid I've always found cool is that cooks used to be called Mrs as a sign of respect/status, even if they were unmarried.


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#96 of 102 Old 11-21-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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Fascinating!


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#97 of 102 Old 11-22-2010, 11:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by number572 View Post

That's interesting about Ms. being "invented" in the 70's.  That makes perfect sense to me.  I don't remember which PP explained that, but thanks!



It wasn't invented in the 70's... unless you're talking about the 1670's!  I don't know who said this, but they're wrong.  While it was not used as much for a time, it's been very much in use for over 100 years and was prior to that, centuries ago.  headscratch.gif

 

Formal forms of address have been around for a long, long time... and in some circles are still used (especially in written correspondence, which does still happen for many people.)


ok, here's why i said "invented".  was just sort of quoting while being too lazy to go back and find the post.  the feminism idea (MR. and MS., neither representing one's marital status) made sense.  thx for the history, its interesting and i never thought too much about it before this thread.

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I guess I was always taught that Miss equaled young, never-married women, Mrs. equaled married of any age, and Ms. was for divorced women, whether they kept their ex-husband's name or switched back. 

 

Ms was not intended as a designation for divorced women at all - it was supposed to be the female counterpart to Mr.

 

Men are Mr. no matter whether they are married or not. Before Ms. was "invented" in the 70s, a woman was Miss (unmarried) or Mrs (married) - completely defined by her marital status.

 

So Ms became the third option for women who did not wish to be defined by their marital status, whether they were never married, married, divorced, whatever.


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#98 of 102 Old 11-22-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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I'm from the deep south, so we are Miss/Mr Firstname here, too.  I called my great-grandmother's friends Miss Ada and Miss Sister (she had a name, but everyone called her Sister).  It's very common where I live.

 

And, I'm with the pp.  I can't hear the difference between "Mrs/Miss/Ms".  They all sound the same to me.  Just like pen and pin.  We had a first year teacher in the 3rd grade from "up north", and it made her crazy that none of us could hear the difference between pen and pin.  Odd language quirk. 

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#99 of 102 Old 11-22-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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I guess I was always taught that Miss equaled young, never-married women, Mrs. equaled married of any age, and Ms. was for divorced women, whether they kept their ex-husband's name or switched back. 

 

Ms was not intended as a designation for divorced women at all - it was supposed to be the female counterpart to Mr.

 

Men are Mr. no matter whether they are married or not. Before Ms. was "invented" in the 70s, a woman was Miss (unmarried) or Mrs (married) - completely defined by her marital status.

 

So Ms became the third option for women who did not wish to be defined by their marital status, whether they were never married, married, divorced, whatever.



What Laohare said. I almost fell off my chair when I saw that you were taught Ms was for divorced women! That's like the opposite of what it was trying to do!


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#100 of 102 Old 03-14-2011, 06:30 PM
 
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Old thread revival....but I was at the elementary school today volunteering and two of my friends' kids walked by me and enthusiastically said "Hi Miss Andrea!!" and gave me big hugs.  (kids rock :)  It didn't feel weird or overtly formal.  I was there to chaperone and was acting in a teacher-like capacity.  It fit and seemed appropos.  The kids I know seem A-OK with the Miss FirstName.  For us, meaning the parents I know, it's level of familarity that kids don't have with teachers (Mrs/Mr Last Name) and feels more like an "inner circle"/family thing.  We're not aunts, but we're close to the littles who call us that and we all (kids included) know it denotes a special relationship.


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#101 of 102 Old 03-14-2011, 07:12 PM
 
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 I work in preschool  and we do alot of Miss Beth even tho she is actually married, or Miss Sharon. A persons maritial staus is none of my childs business honestly. They are adding in a show of respect, I think that should do just fine.

 

However, if you have expressed an issue with it, it would be rude for the kids to call you Miss at this time.

 

 

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#102 of 102 Old 03-15-2011, 12:07 AM
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As for "Miss Firstname", I HATE that!  I understand that it's taught to children as a way of showing respect, and in some cases it's akin to "Auntie Firstname", but I still hate it.  If a parent wants to teach their kids formality and societal convention, I think that's wonderful.  Just do it right and use Miss/Mrs./Ms. Surname. 

 

 


If you grew up in the deep south it would just sound normal to you. I live in Colorado now and still accidentally refer to adult friends or neighbors as Mr firstname or Miss fristname when talking to my 5 year old.  It's just such a habit after decades of hearing it.

 

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