Saying there is a “condescending connotation,” Julie Muret of Osez le Feminisme told the French publication Le Monde, “But it is very symbolic of inequalities,” adding that addressing oneself by “Mademoiselle” or “Madame” without an optional neutral description like “Ms.” reveals a woman’s marital status upfront. “This forces the woman to expose [her] personal and family situation. … Did you ever ask whether a young man was a Mister or a Squire?”
“[T]he distinction Madame/Mademoiselle is neither flattering nor mandatory,” states the Osez le Feminisme site. “Above all, it is the ordinary sign of sexism that persists in our society.”
The campaign encourages French females to call themselves “Madame” regardless of marital status. The organizations say the postal service, tax collectors and local councils all should transition away from using “Mademoiselle” because there is no legal necessity for the distinction, which is an outdated description.
Janice Crouse, senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America, told the Daily Caller that the debate over “Madame” and “Mademoiselle” should not be shrugged off as silly, especially considering the sorry state of marriage in today’s world.
“The French [feminist] push to use ‘Madame’ all the time when addressing women instead of reserving the word ‘Mademoiselle’ to refer to a younger, unmarried woman is reminiscent of the U.S. attempt years ago to address all women as ‘Ms.’ Times have changed, though, since ‘Miss’ was an issue in the U.S.,” Ms. Crouse told the Caller.
“Now, marital status, as well as a woman’s age, is more touchy than ever. Years ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan commented that those who won the war over language would prevail in the culture. Given the demise of marriage around the world, perhaps the brouhaha over ‘Miss’ and ‘Mademoiselle’ is more serious than frivolous,” she said.
• Compiled by Laura Donovan © 2011 The Daily Caller