15 April, 2009

A small feminist rant

As per my profiley thing on the right there, I've just finished my PhD and although I haven't had my graduation ceremony yet (4th May) I have the piece of paper that tells me that my degree has been awarded and that means I can call myself Dr. I'm still a bit funny about calling myself Dr. C, it feels weird and pretentious and since my dad is also Dr. C, it also feels like I'm calling myself by my dad's name :) But all those things aside, I'm quite entitled to circle the Dr. option when I'm filling out forms, instead of Ms. like I used to. I'm not a Mrs. because I haven't taken Mat's last name despite being married for 12 years now. So this is what my rant is about - this afternoon I went to a new dentist and filled out the requisite new patient form. Feeling daring and slightly schoolgirlish, I chose Dr. as my title on the form. The receptionist came out to talk to me about my exciting career and how fun it must be and I was feeling quite pleased with myself. So what did the dentist call out when he came to get me? "Mrs. C". Should I have said something? It would seem a bit petty but the whole thing with Mrs. C bugs me and it's not just him.

My name is in the phone book and so what do sales people call me when they ring? Mrs. C, because obviously since I'm an adult woman answering the phone I must be married to Mr. C, whose name is in the book because he's the man right? Same if I'm in a waiting room and they want to call me. Must be married, must be her husband's last name, must be Mrs. I'm sorry but where does this reasoning come from? Where? It seems to be very widespread. I can sort of understand if they see me in person because I wear a wedding ring - but on the phone? How many unmarried women are these people insulting inadvertently I wonder? Not to mention all the married ones! Men don't have this problem, their marital status is in no way involved with their title. They pretty much start out as Mr., unless the get called Master when they're very little, and they stay Mr. Girls start out as Miss, they're Miss for years and years and years until they either get married or become a radical feminist and call themselves Ms. So Miss Hazel at 3.5 uses the same title as Hazel at 20. Bizarre. Even using Ms. is telling the world something about yourself. Then we get to call ourselves Mrs., even when we've specifically told someone we're not. It drives me bats**t insane. Now I get to add Dr. to the list of titles people can ignore.

I'm not at all against being a Mrs., if people want to call me Mrs. C— then that's fine, if Mat's elderly aunts want to call me Mrs. Matthew...— then I'll laugh and be amused. But calling me Mrs. C is just rude and presumptuous and it makes me angry. Typically, it's useful for Mat because if someone calls up and asks if he's Mr. C then he knows they're a telemarketer and hangs up on them. If I get the Mrs. C it's a 50/50 proposition whether it's a telemarketer or some idiot who actually does know me.

/rant over - and it wasn't small either so I do apologise for the misleading title.

1 comment:

  1. Hear hear, sister! I have all the same issues - I didn't take Greg's last name, and call myself Ms. I frequently get called Mrs., because apparently you can't be 34 and unmarried. I'd almost rather be called Miss, seeing as Mrs. C is my mother.

    I have two relatives, one on each side of the family, who still insist on addressing cards to Mrs H, or Mr & Mrs H, when they always get mail from us with the 'from' address clearly stating 'Ms. J. C and Mr. G H' - can these people not take a hint?! Gah.

    If people ring up and ask if they're speaking to Mrs H, I usually say "No, but I'm Mr H's wife, Ms C; can I help?". It might be over-stressing the point, but I'm bloody sick of it!



Related Posts with Thumbnails