02 November 2012
By Sandrine Berges
This amusing post came out a few days ago in Feminist Philosophers. The person who wrote the email was the victim of some automated response gone wrong. When you submit a paper to a journal, these days, you ofen have to fill in a form, with scroll down options for your title. Somehow, in his case, 'dr' got replaced by 'miss'.
I have two thoughts about this. First, why do they have 'miss' as an option at all? Isn't it enough to have 'Ms' and 'Mr'? Does anybody still prefer to be refered to as 'Miss', and if so, should we, in the light of the fact that it's a sexist appellation which gives information about your marital status in a way that cannot be done for men, humour them?
Secondly, if you have a professional title (dr, prof, or something else), should you use that at all times or only in professional contexts? This clearly was a professional context (journal publishing), but how about on your credit card, or phone bills? Are you a dr or a ms or mr? While I was still leaving in the UK, I remember finding it a bit pretensious to have the bank call me 'dr', until they started calling me 'Miss'. Then I insisted they change my credit and debit card to 'Dr.'. They never did. Now I'm in Turkey, my credit cards simply have my name on them. When I receive a letter, there is no title. When people want to use a title, they use 'hanim' (honorific title for woman, and the feminine version of 'bey') or ('hoca' used here to mean teacher) after my first name. So I'm Sandrine hanim, or Sandrine hoca. Which is ok.