One ring to rule them all

French feminists have begun agitating to ditch the title of ‘Mademoiselle’ (Miss) and call all women ‘Madame.’ A French organization called Les Chiennes de Garde (the Guard Dog Bitches) wrote:

“The option Madame/Mademoiselle means that a woman has to give an indication about her availability, in particular her sexual availability. A letterbox is not meant to be a dating agency…” [Link]

It’s similar to the shift to Ms. in the U.S.:

The use of Ms. as a title was conceived by Sheila Michaels in 1961… Michaels, who was illegitimate, and not adopted by her stepfather, had long grappled with finding a title which reflected her situation: not being owned by a father and not wishing to be owned by a husband… the title is now standard, especially in business — and where one may not know or find relevant the marital status of the woman so addressed. [Link]

One feminist has a novel reason for the shift:

Emmanuele Peyret, wrote in the newspaper Libération that “the insidious passage from Mademoiselle to Madame is so painful that we may as well begin by being called Madame straight away, in the cradle”. [Link]

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p>I think that’s a fine idea. As you hold a naked, wailing baby upside down and give her the welcome whack, you can say, ‘Pardonnez-moi, madame.’ It’s the polite thing to do.

And why stop there? It is absolutely true that women bear the burden of being marked as property. In fact, the full burkha of devout Muslims angles for complete sexual control, but almost every culture has milder restraints: the bindi, the sindoor, the wedding ring.

I’m of a breed which dislikes wearing things on the skin. We live streamlined, unornamented and unscented. It’s not that I object to status markers, especially one so hard fought-for by women as the reciprocal, male wedding ring. It’s just that wearing rings bugs me.

But there are simple alternatives. By a happy coincidence, the Hindu color of auspiciousness is also the color of traffic lights; the red bindi is also the signal for Stop, She’s Taken. So give me a green bindi to signal Single. Or for my lapel, the slide latch from an airplane loo, set to Available.

Forget Ms., forget Madame, forget cell phone dating. To avoid crossed wires, all you need is one good sticker.

Related posts: The Gender Gap

76 thoughts on “One ring to rule them all

  1. I’m waiting for that damn tab too and hopefully the single gods of SM put themselves on that tab. I have a massive crush on one elusive one.

    lol… who??

    Sepia Mutiny Dating… I’ll see what I can do, but I doubt North Dakota will let me touch that in my remaining 15 days…

  2. Heh heh. I know! It’s kind of mean but I forward the particularly atrocious ones on to my friends. I don’t think it’s very likely but I’m half afraid/hoping I’ll run into one of my brothers on these sites and then I can obnoxiously lord it over him FOREVER and never have to fight for the remote control again when we’re all at home.

    And why are most of them taking pictures of themselves? Can’t they find a friend to do it? So lonely.

  3. my partner and i combined last names to avoid hyphenation, being the oldest and only son his parents where not very excited, but it felt like it reflected us and how our lives/cultures have gotten mixed (he: Bombay Gujarati, me: Washington state white trash). plus it gives him some pretty serious feminist cred :)

    Pocket Amazon, how did you do this? Did you both change your names after the combination?

  4. in addition to me not wanting to have ANYTHING to do with the blood diamond industry AND not caring about shiny pretty things either. And it’s not that I’m non-commital or anything.

    much respect to the idea of not wanting to brand your status. I’m ok with the symbolism of wedding rings. Don’t care much for engagement rings, but I agree with the blood diamond concerns. Just want to put it out there that there’s such a thing as cultured diamonds (which are different from cubic zirconia and aren’t fake diamonds, but diamonds that have nothing to do with the mining process)

  5. my partner and i combined last names to avoid hyphenation, being the oldest and only son his parents where not very excited, but it felt like it reflected us and how our lives/cultures have gotten mixed (he: Bombay Gujarati, me: Washington state white trash). plus it gives him some pretty serious feminist cred :)

    I always thought a round of thumb wrestling would determine which last name to adopt, mide or hers

  6. lol… who??

    Uh umm uh eh errr damn I can’t…

    Sepia Mutiny Dating… I’ll see what I can do, but I doubt North Dakota will let me touch that in my remaining 15 days…

    Oh come on for petes sake you are a gurl with gurls!!! Use the power lady.

  7. Msichana- we went to court and got our names changed. in some states i think you can change your name on your wedding license, but we live in california and this was the best way to do it. it wasw actually kinda fun! i got the first two letters and he got the last three.

  8. you are a gurl with gurls!!!

    lol

    What exactly do you mean? Like, gurls = “I got my home gurls” or gurls = “I got just two of them. And I use them wisely?”

    JOAT, Share your crush, and I’ll use my “gurls” to play “matchmaker”… promise.

  9. If Mr = Married / Unmarried then quite logically Ms. should represent the same.

    As an aside, at what point does a Master become a Mister. ?

  10. I know who Jane’s crush is!!! C’mon people, if you’ve been paying attention… it’s obvious!!!

    I don’t publicly out people, so I’m going to keep my mouth zipped for now.

  11. i think when jane and her crush go on their first date we should film one of those dating reality shows, with the asides and the cartoon bubbles…

    peace – have a good weekend y’all

  12. Nope. But I do know who Jane once referred to as a “hottie”, and I think there’s a very strong possibility my crush hunch is correct.

    Very cute – crushin’ doesn’t end in highschool!

  13. JOAT, Share your crush, and I’ll use my “gurls” to play “matchmaker”… promise.

    Your efforts would be pointless young one. Bloggers can’t date other bloggers because then they’d blog the sorrid details of their eventual break-up all over the internet. They can’t date their readers because they’d never be able to live up to expectations AND they’d be using the power of the blog for personal gain (bootie in this case). No young one. You have much yet to learn about this powerful force that you wield so casually.

  14. because then they’d blog the sorrid details of their eventual break-up all over the internet.

    I have NO idea what your talking about… ;-)

    Blogmaster Yoda, i have so much to learn. I promise not to use my gurls, or the blog, for evil/bootie.

  15. I know who Jane’s crush is!!! C’mon people, if you’ve been paying attention… it’s obvious!!!

    Damn just cause I flirted with Abhi I assure you it’s not him. :-)

    But I do know who Jane once referred to as a “hottie”, and I think there’s a very strong possibility my crush hunch is correct.

    Damn I called one of the blog gods here hotties? I should be more careful Aren’t they all Taz, ANNA et all? I mean ANNA has been my girl crush forever!!

    i think when jane and her crush go on their first date we should film one of those dating reality shows, with the asides and the cartoon bubbles…

    Permission granted ONLY and ONLY if there is a 2nd and 3rd and 4th date … out of it.

    Bloggers can’t date other bloggers because then they’d blog the sorrid details of their eventual break-up all over the internet. They can’t date their readers because they’d never be able to live up to expectations AND they’d be using the power of the blog for personal gain (bootie in this case).

    NOT FAIR!! I’d like to find out for myself if this bloggod is truly so outside of the blogosphere! And my mom and dad read my blog I can’t even post dating stories much less disaster stories…those are best saved for bytchfests with girlfriends :-)

  16. oh blogmaster yoda…isn’t it you who said: do or do not, there is no try….

    hence, blogdating, should be done, no? or are you wise one speaking from experience ;) ….

  17. oh this talk of blog crushes reminds me of the brown v day haikus…where i had a secret hummus lover… sigh.. they never revealed themself to me.. (gasp…shudder….sob)..my heart will always wonder… who was this hummus crush of mine?

  18. We live streamlined, unornamented and unscented.

    Says who? Maybe true for you, but these days, even men are using more and more “personal-hygene products”. It’s not just deodorant and mouth wash any more, it’s hair gel, after-shave, body wash, body spray, etc. Trust me, you smell! Granted, these are “good scents” designed to hide our sweaty grubby selves. And when’s the last time you watched the average women get ready? Maybe moving to Mumbai has made you think that people live unscented, but it’s really not true.

  19. oh this talk of blog crushes reminds me of the brown v day haikus…where i had a secret hummus lover… sigh.. they never revealed themself to me.. (gasp…shudder….sob)..my heart will always wonder… who was this hummus crush of mine?

    Aww Chikie …. :-(

  20. oh JOAT :) … tis okay… this bean has become stronger..all fun/joking aside (which hopefully you can all allude to), it was a funny haiku fest that will always make me smile..

    bytewords:

    bean will always sprout hummus keeps getting better pita will catch it

  21. As an aside, at what point does a Master become a Mister. ?

    When he starts spruting facial hair and his voice breaks? Hehe. I think it’s about age sixteen.