Tuesday 24 April 2018

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

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".

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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