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Ms, Miss, Mrs, Mx.

One of our PhD students has been having me read her grant application. I was surprised to read that in it she calls herself Mrs. PhDStudent. She is queer and married to a woman. I expressed surprise and she asked what she should call herself and I said that Ms was more customary. She didn’t know what Ms was and said she liked Mrs because it was an explicit way to show she was married to her partner.

It’s kind of interesting to think of a radical queer reclaiming of Mrs, but I’m still not on board. I also cannot conceptualize someone not knowing “Ms”?!?

I explained that it was a form of address for women that didn’t label them by their marital status — which has historically been very important and revolutionary. I didn’t suggest Mx — a that wouldn’t have worked well for this particular context — but see that as perhaps a better and more radical term than Mrs.

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Then again, I hate having to have terms that identify me as a woman. I clearly am a woman - my name is super freaking girly (I hate it) - I don’t need any more signifiers of my sex/gender. Despite my girly signifiers, I am pretty gender aschematic on gender inventories (meaning I am pretty equal parts masculine and feminine), and wish we would veer away from Mrs, Ma’am, Miss, etc. and just use gender neutral terms for most things.

At any rate - do you think younger generations will use Ms?  Eschew it and use Mrs?  This is all kind of fascinating to me.

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