The term “Miss” is sexist and demeaning


“Girl Power” is written in red lipstick on a mirror in an act of passion for woman’s rights.

When fifth grade Gigi came across my first encounter with divorce, I was immediately confused why “Mrs” soon became “Miss” or “Ms,” but “Mr” kept its uniform existence. ‘How could this even matter?’ I wondered. ‘Was she not the same person anymore?’ ‘Why was only her identity shifted in this change?’

Soon after, I came to the conclusion that with no male title counterpart, the term “Miss” walks the line to degrading. 

Since this realization, I have often contemplated why when a woman is unmarried, her title changes, but a man holds the same banner no matter his marital status.

A name serves as an initial impression of a person. When a woman introduces herself, whether she is married or unmarried is brought into relevance. To my understanding, this is just society’s way of displaying that she is less than or at least in some sense different than she would be seen if she were married.

Since the essence of childhood, it has been pounded into young girls’ minds that when referring to a woman, their title is altered based on whether they have a partner, but a man stays at constant. This breathes emphasis from the youngest stages of life that this has an influence on how a woman should be perceived.

Maybe it is the feminist in me solely speaking, but I internally struggle to recognize the reason behind this. Yes, I have taken history courses. I understand that in centuries past, being married has had effects on one’s role in society. Fortunately, it is 2021, nearing 2022, and I feel that with all the steps women have climbed to gain equality, this should be the next conquest. 

In this, I completely dismiss the concept that this is tradition. Tradition can take a backseat as it does in countless examples, so this issue can be passed by.

This minuscule change in name could be perceived as extremely minor to some. Though the change is small, the message it sends speaks in more than the one-letter change. Doing nothing more than embodying internalized misogyny rooted in society, the term screams that a woman is different depending on her marital status.

Though the change is small, the message it sends speaks in more than the one-letter change.

Whether this is implied, or just a habit of culture, this is how it has always spoken to me. 

The tragic truth to the matter is since our youngest age, girls are being told marriage affects our place in humanity. Boys do not receive the same message.

Not many can claim to never hear the kitchen jokes surrounding women and their adult lives. Since early elementary school, I have listened to kids and movies say ‘Women belong in the kitchen.’ If the created stereotype constrains women to staying home and cooking for her family, where do single women stand? Because we pretend as if this isn’t the assumed societal role based on rising numbers of women working, but have we really escaped this confining mentality? 

To quickly escape ideologies surrounding a woman’s role in life would be only in futile attempts. But, involving something as minuscule as one’s assumed identity differing based on their personal relationships seems like an important place to begin.