I’m going to go on a little rant here about something that has been bothering me for a while now. I originally posted this on my tumblr (where my initial disgust occured) but I thought I'd paste it on here too.
I read a post on tumblr, perhaps in the teaching tag, in which a young teacher (I think from the US) had written about how she had corrected her students when they addressed her as Ms rather than Miss by saying ’ do I look like a spinster to you?’. She thought it was a humourous response and was pleased nobody in the class would ever make the mistake of addressing her as Ms again.
This makes me really, really mad. Here are my reasons:
Firstly, women have the option of using the title of Ms if they do not want their marital status to come into play. There is no way of telling if a man is married or not by his title, so why should women have to put their relationship status on display? Female teachers may decide they don’t want their students, the staff, and parents to know whether they’re married or not and therefore use Ms OR like myself, perhaps they don’t really care whether people know their martial status, but would just like to be the one to tell them. By reacting the way she did this teacher has put doubt into the minds of her students about how they should address women. Her students will probably now fear offending women if they use Ms incorrectly (when there is no incorrect way of using Ms....unless you're talking to a man, I guess). If you would prefer to be addressed as Miss, that’s totally fine, but do not reprimand a child for respecting women. It’s about equality, really, and anyone who can’t see that…to be honest, is an ignorant twat.
Secondly, “spinster”? Really? What the actual fuck? Someone spent too much time playing Old Maid as a child. Once again we’re brought back to equality. What is the male version of a spinster? Bachelor. So we see a bit of disparity here. Also, what exactly is a spinster meant to look like? Clearly this teacher believes she does not look like one. Are unmarried female teachers ugly, stooped, and miserable? Do they shuffle around muttering ’ Forever Alone, Forever Alone’? Um, no. Would a male teacher be horrified if his students referred to him in a way which indicated they didn’t know his marital status? Probably not and we’ll never know BECAUSE FOR MEN IT IS NOT AN ISSUE and it shouldn’t be an issue for women either (refer to reason one if you’re still lost). This teacher has further wronged her students (and to be a bit hyperbolic - women everywhere) by driving home her (fucking moronic) opinion that unmarried women should be ashamed of their status.
If we can’t even get a TEACHER to understand why women should have a neutral title what chance do we have of teaching an entire generation of children/teenagers to be more open minded. They are the ones who will grow up to ensure that everyone not matter how they identify has a title which represents them in a way they feel is adequate and equal. What chance do we have for any kind of equality when people like this are making throw-away comments, and posting about them, without even realising the implications of their words.
Ranty, ranty, rant. Okay, perhaps I went a bit overboard but it felt good.
Spinning. Like a boss.