Thursday 8 December 2016

Mary Kenny: Don't diss 'Miss' -- it's not patronising, it's practical

Published 27/02/2012 | 05:00

France is facing an important presidential election -- the first round is on April 22 -- but the French prime minister has nevertheless found the time, and the inclination, to declare a ban on the title "Mademoiselle". "Miss" is to be deleted from the language of diplomacy, cuisine and chivalry, because it has been decreed "discriminatory".

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Prime Minister Francois Fillon says it must go from all government and bureaucratic forms in the future, because it is nobody's business whether a woman is married or not, and the phrase "maiden name" -- nom de jeune fille -- implies virginity. Virginity! Quelle horreur! And, for men, the all-inclusive "Monsieur" does not disclose whether a male is single or paired.

If this is what women want -- and Mr Fillon has carried out the linguistic reform under pressure from feminist lobbies -- this is what they should get. If French women think it is patronising, or intrusive, to be addressed as Mademoiselle, so be it.

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