Offended by “Mademoiselle”

Caption: It’s absolutely none of our business but we still demand to know if you are a virgin, unmarried, divorced, a widow, or just a naïve young thing….

Someone sent me this article, from a website called Madame ou Madame. It’s about a new campaign against the word Mademoiselle.

Mademoiselle—One box too many

Have you ever wondered why we don’t call an unmarried man “my damoiseau” or even “young virgin”? It’s not surprising, since this distinction is reserved for women. (Damoiseau is the male equivalent of demoiselle (damsel).)

Yes, in France in 2011, men and women are still not treated equally: one salutation for men, two for women!

Therefore Osez le féminisme [Dare to be a feminist] and the Chiennes de garde [Watchdogs] are launching a campaign called “Mademoiselle—one box too many” to remind us that the distinction Madame/Mademoiselle is neither flattering nor obligatory. And above all, that it is a sign of the everyday sexism that persists in our society.


One Response to “Offended by “Mademoiselle””

  1. Comment by Ally | 09/28/11 at 1:20 pm

    A few months ago I read an article about being asked in American or British libraries whether one had HIV… Could it get any worse?

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