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While doing some research on Gloria Steinem, I came across your website. Something has been bugging me for some years now. I remember when the term Ms. first became widely recognized in the late 60s and I recall that it was intended to replace both Miss and Mrs. so that a woman's marital status was not indicated as has always been the case for men.

However, even today some 40 years on, I notice that on most forms that require you to check a form of address, I see Mr., Mrs., Miss and Ms. This is totally against the original intent of the use of Ms. I usually cross out the Miss and Mrs. I have written letters to the editors of several papers and I rant about this practice whenever I can.

What else can I do??? Can your organization launch or help to launch a huge public service campaign to educate the general populace about how to use proper forms of address? And don't fall for that argument that courtesy requires us to allow a woman to be addressed as Miss or Mrs. if she prefers. That is nonsense. Language changes. Once and for all, it is Mr. for a male and Ms. for a female. Thank you.

Thanks for reaching out to feminist.com and you make such a great point...and I have my own frustrations with medical forms, which ask "married" or "single" and I ask why not: "married" or "not married" — and your frustration seems to point to the same thing. With Ms., we get the same information as we do with Mr. (i.e., gender) — but by listing those other things for women we are essentially asking "Married, Single or Undecided" whereas with men, we don't get any of that. I would start with a few places and point this out to them and simply ask them to narrow the choice.

And even more...I might ask that they remove it all together. For instance, when I have the option of that, I never check it — as I feel it's pointless information, it's a formality that is only superficially enforced — only on wedding invitations and holiday cards to people actually list that information and thus it's time for us to stop "requiring" it. I will do what I can, too —but I think start small and see if the example catches on.

— Amy