As a lot of non-French might ignore, a rather heated debate fuelled recently the press of my beloved home country - not on DSK Sofitel activities or on the financial crisis. No. On the subject of leaving the term ‘Mademoiselle’ in administrative forms or getting rid of it.
As lots of feminists will tell you: it is discrimatory to ask women to tick their marital status by making this field mandatory while men don’t have to do such a thing.
Without being a pro-active feminist, I agree with that statement.
BUT I quite enjoy to be called ‘Mademoiselle’ as 1. it is the proper term since I never married, 2. it creates a really nice alliteration when added to my surname, 3. ‘Madame Desmas’ is my mother and I would find it weird to be called like her.
The sad thing about the story is that feminists have picked the less attractive word of the two and rather than keeping Mademoiselle, they would like to keep Madame.
From a very ethical point of view and as a linguist, I must admit not really liking this ability to eradicate one word which by definition narrows down minds and deprive some parts of the population of their personal choice - you sadly don’t need to go that far back in history to see what I mean by that.
But when I consider that debate, a question arises: in the 21st century, when people can change sex, or consider themselves as male or female regardless of what their actual sex is, and since on EVERY single administrative form sent by the government, there is always a mandatory field about the person’s gender - why the ‘title’ should be mandatory then? As a lot of nordic countries gave up the idea of titles all together for the sake of equity between their citizens - which I personally don’t really agree with as I consider words as too precious things to be eradicated - why not just get rid of the ‘mandatoriness’ of this field everywhere and stop making a big fuss on such a futile subject? At a time when watching the news gets worse every single day, I feel quite sad to see that some people in my home country can have so much energy to waste.