Why Ms Clinton instead of Mrs Clinton?

Politics aside, why the tendency to write it (and say it, as far as I know) Ms instead of Mrs?

I routinely see it used either way. For instance, “Kearson: Why do you think Ms. Clinton is unelectable?”


Did she get divorced and I missed it, or is the prefix no longer a determiner of marital status?

Upon rereading the question before I post it, or is it politics?

First Ms. is not a determiner of Marital Status.
It is not associated with divorced. It is either at the choice of the person being addressed or a good neutral address if unsure of the persons status or preference.

It’s probably her preference. Standard procedure is to do what the person wants.

“Mrs.” defines a woman by her marital status; in this instance it casts an implied shadow of Bill over her. “Ms.” is neutral and makes marital status irrelevant. As it should be.

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Ms. is the correct term, with no marital status implied. Even the stanch old gray lady The New York Times uses it, causing Gloria Steinman to quip “I’ll no longer be referred to as Miss Steinman of Ms. magazine.”

So in her case it is probably politics. Ok, I can understand that.

Outside of her is this a new thing with other women?

I’m feeling horribly old right now.

I’ve been “Ms.” since 1976. So have most women I know. Marital status is nobody’s casual business. This is not at all new. It’s over 40 years old in the US.

That isn’t what we said. Please try rereading the responses. Your assumptions about Miss, Mrs. & Ms. are just not correct.

It’s been the preferred term for a couple of decades at least.

Why should a person’s title have anything to do with their marital status? In any professional correspondence I have pretty much always used Ms.

HeweyLogan, do you understand what “Miss” means in front of a woman’s name? Do you understand what “Mrs.” means? “Ms” has been the term in place to encompass both of those other terms for a very long time, more than a generation. Are you truthfully unaware of this?

What decade is it?

Today one of the protesters at the women’s health clinic started talking about the “girls” going into the clinic. I asked him “Are you going to refer to the black security guard as a ‘boy’?” To which the guard replied “I don’t think you want to do that.”

Just how old are you? The term Ms. was promoted starting in the 1960s and 1970s. The U.S. Government Printing Office approved its use in official documents in 1972 and even The New York Times adopted the word in 1986.

I’ve been using ‘Ms.’ by default for decades unless I had reason to think she preferred ‘Mrs. or Miss.’

(Recently I confess to sometimes using ‘Miss’ online, almost flirtatiously, e.g. in Mafia Games, even when I know or suspect the woman is married. Is this harassment? or otherwise proscribed?)

What of women who retain their maiden surname? ‘Mrs. Surname’ is then misleading; is it wrong?

Yes. If a woman keeps her given birth name, or uses it in addition to her husband’s name (like Hillary Rodham Clinton), use Ms.

And any other time, Ms. is also correct.

Why would it be wrong? She is just choosing to let people know she is married.
Now if someone just decided to add Dr. in front of their name that is wrong and misleading.

According to the old-fashioned “traditional usage,” it would be:

I think at one point it meant “divorced” but now it simply means “female”, without any connotation concerning her marital status.

Yes, but we’re now in the early 21st Century and the rules have changed.

It NEVER meant divorced. It was simply a neutral honorific meaning neither married nor single.

It means “female,” as opposed to “Mr.” which means “male.”