Comment: Mrs or Ms debate an insult to women’s abilities

I'VE been out of uni only six months and working at the Sunshine Coast Daily for a couple of weeks.

And we baby journalists, enthusiastic as we are, tend to make many mistakes.

One thing I continually forget to do is ask the woman I've interviewed whether she's a "Ms" or a "Mrs" when we print her name in the paper.

I have to make an embarrassing phone call to the lady I've just interviewed, merely to inquire whether or not she's married.

"I'm a Ms," she might reply, almost a little defensively, as though her marital status might detract from the story I'm writing.

As though her achievements, which are often significant, are somehow tempered by the fact she's single.

In May, the Oxford English Dictionary flagged "Mx" as a possible gender-neutral honorific, for people who would prefer not to specify their gender.

My question is, why are we even talking about "Mx" (which, incidentally, wasn't very well received) when we still have "Ms" and "Mrs" to contend with?

Why should it be relevant to my story that the lady I just interviewed about her thriving business got divorced last year?

It baffles me that many young women my age will one day be defined - even in a small way - by their husbands, or lack thereof.

It should not be something we have to disclose to a journalist writing a story about what we've done.

When I write my stories, I'll ask you whether you're "Mrs" or "Ms" because I have to. I want you to know it doesn't matter to me.



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