Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Doing what I can to advance feminism in The Great Down Under

Twice in the last two weeks I have been completing a form orally: once in a local health food store (Newsletter! Discounts!) and most recently when checking into the hospital.

Given name?
Is that Miss or Mrs?"

To which I reply, after a moment of confusion, "I don't use either of those titles."

And, I am met with stunned silence as the poor woman (in both cases) tries to figure out what that could mean and what she should do next.

I don't get involved in a discussion. I just remain title-less - are titles really necessary in this day and age? Particularly for the purpose of a newsletter?? Or, in the case of the hospital, because she pushed for a title but seemed to have none to offer, I chose Dr. Really, I should have chosen Ms and if I could go back and do it again, I would.

These people need to be introduced to the concept that a woman's status does not have to be defined by her relationship to a man. "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." (I am doing what I can in my little corner of the world where EVERY woman who calls in to the clinic gets the title Ms slapped on her little surname...at least when I answer the phone.)

Furthermore, it would make no sense in their patriarchic paradigm for me to be either Miss D or Mrs D.... if Miss defines an unmarried woman and Mrs refers back to the man to whom she is married.

There is one exception- a shout out to my friend and colleague Dr. Gates - to whom I shall always be Mrs D.


Cathi said...

When I first went to work at the place I worked at in NZ, an old fogey said to me "Nice to meet you. And what does your husband do?"

to which I replied "I don't know, I haven't seen him in about 10 years"

I'm quite proud of that.

NNV said...

And, I'm proud to know you!