#1  
Old 11-02-2016, 08:55 AM
Jim B. Jim B. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,671
Ms. Martha Stewart

[Dear Cecil:]

Actually, I was faced with this question some time ago. It was the administration of Pres. George W. Bush. And Martha Stewart was charged with stock fraud. So I wanted to send her a letter of support.

But I just couldn't it figure out. Was it "Mrs. Stewart" or "Miss Stewart"?

I realize when women become famous in their own right, they retain the title "Miss", especially when they are still using their maiden name. But therein lies the problem, you see. "Stewart" is Martha's married name. (She apparently married a man named "Stewart".)

Anyways, I just titled my email "Ms" and left it at that. But the question remains, is Ms. Stewart a Miss or a Mrs.? And of course, it must be asked, which title does Martha prefer? But as I said, it is a somewhat technical question too, for other similar situations.

(Oh, and BTW, I never did get a reply from Martha [so no help there]. But I later heard her say on TV that she read every email her supporters sent her, and she really appreciated it. Wasn't that nice of her?)

[Jim B.]

Well, there is the question I send to Mr. Adams. Now what do the rest of you have to say?
__________________
"Love takes no less than everything." (from "Love Is", a duet by Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight)
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 11-02-2016, 09:32 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,618
Keep in mind that Stewart is her married name, so Miss is inappropriate. But she got divorced in 1990. So I doubt she would appreciate being called Mrs. So probably Ms would be best.
  #3  
Old 11-02-2016, 09:50 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 74,425
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
I realize when women become famous in their own right, they retain the title "Miss", especially when they are still using their maiden name.
Are you sure about this rule? Because it's the first time I've heard this.
  #4  
Old 11-02-2016, 09:52 AM
Jim B. Jim B. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Are you sure about this rule? Because it's the first time I've heard this.
In metro-Detroit, where I live, local celebrities, John Kelly and Marilyn Turner were married. Yet, on their morning talk show, she was referred to in the credits as "Miss Turner". I have heard it a couple of other places too. But I can't recall yet just where.
  #5  
Old 11-02-2016, 09:56 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,618
How long ago was she was referred to in credits as "Miss Turner"? That sounds like something you might have done a hundred years ago.
  #6  
Old 11-02-2016, 10:35 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 11,673
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
How long ago was she was referred to in credits as "Miss Turner"? That sounds like something you might have done a hundred years ago.
The weekday maid and the kitchen help have always referred to her as Miss Turner.
  #7  
Old 11-02-2016, 10:38 AM
Ulfreida Ulfreida is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: the western edge.
Posts: 2,229
Ms. is always correct.
Mrs. is something I use for women who are elderly, old-fashioned, and are in their husband's shadow.
Miss I haven't used for anyone for thirty or forty years. Might use it for a formal invitation or a slightly ironic address to a girl under the age of twelve.

Even in H.W.'s time I would have used Ms.

Last edited by Ulfreida; 11-02-2016 at 10:40 AM.
  #8  
Old 11-02-2016, 10:50 AM
kunilou kunilou is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 22,032
It's not a rule, it's a custom, and not a particularly firm one, at that.

When I lived in the small-town South, it was appropriate to call older, unmarried women "Miss."

Some women prefer the title "Mrs." even when they aren't "elderly, old-fashioned, and are in their husband's shadow."

Ms. has become customary for adult women unless the woman herself chooses to be addressed by a different title.
  #9  
Old 11-02-2016, 10:51 AM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 13,172
Off-topic but just to clarify, Stewart was not charged with securities fraud but rather with lying to federal investigators (who were looking into allegations of securities fraud).
  #10  
Old 11-02-2016, 11:32 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Cebu, Philippines
Posts: 12,816
Here in Texas, she would be "Miz Martha".
  #11  
Old 11-02-2016, 11:50 AM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is offline
Head Cheese
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: El Cerrito, CA
Posts: 3,772
The proper way to address someone is how that person wishes to be addressed. If you don't know, "Ms. Surname" is generally safe for women.

As far as I know, there is no general rule that famous women are called "Miss" even after marriage. In Marilyn Turner's case, I'm sure the credit as "Miss Turner" was worked out between her and the show. For whatever reason, she wanted to be know that way, and they accommodated her.

The name of a celebrity is a brand. Changing one's name is like changing the name of a product or company. That could be why Marilyn Turner wanted to keep that billing after she got married. Lauren Bacall never changed her name to Lauren Bogart, at least not publicly.

I think under the circumstances, "Ms. Stewart" was the best way to address her.
__________________
'Tis a pity that I have no gravy to put upon Uncle Hymie.
  #12  
Old 11-02-2016, 01:02 PM
Oddball_92 Oddball_92 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 357
How about Inmate Stewart #55170-054?
  #13  
Old 11-02-2016, 02:29 PM
BigT BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 32,663
In speech, especially when less formal, there is often no distinction for the various female titles.
__________________
sig for testing purposes only
  #14  
Old 11-03-2016, 09:53 AM
joe.russell joe.russell is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 61
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-mrs-stand-for
I always use mrs. for a married woman
Miss for a single woman
Ms for a woman that your not sure on
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:56 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017