Quite Reasonable French Government Bans 'Mademoiselle'

Illustration for article titled Quite Reasonable French Government Bans 'Mademoiselle'

Au revoir, Mademoiselle. Thanks to pressure from French feminist groups, dames no longer have to identify themselves as Madam (married) or Mademoiselle (unmarried) on official government documents. The only way today could improve for French women is if Dominique Strauss-Kahn announced plans to permanently emigrate.


The BBC reports that a women's group called Osez le Feminisme was behind the successful push to banish the outdated requirement that women advertise their marital status when men are spared similar requirements. But freedom from double standards in titles is far from the group's only goal. France will hold its national elections this April, and the group wants to make sure politicians support reducing the pay gap between men and women, keep abortion legal and birth control widely available, and keep advertising as un-gross as possible.

So, I guess they won their smallest battle, but it's a win nonetheless. And now we can say, with confidence that French women don't get marital status based titles.

France PM Francois Fillon bids adieu to mademoiselle [BBC]



On the first day of kindergarten, I got in a fight with my teacher about the unfairness of having to say Mrs/Miss for all the female teachers while the male principal was Mr. I didn't understand why women had to indicate if they were married or not, while the men didn't have to. At that point, my teacher said I could also call women Ms if I didn't want to indicate marital status. THAT made me even angrier, since "miz" sounded harsh and was yet another damn honorific to learn.

And that was the day I became a feminist. It's the day I learned what a feminist was (hee hee, we have a little feminist in class, don't we?) and that equality was just a common sense approach to life. So it's not just a small thing. These small things matter and are noticed and seep into our subconscious and our expectations about gender and professionalism and place in the world.