Au Revoir, Mademoiselle! French Ban the Word in Government Writing

Recently, the French government has banished the use of the word “mademoiselle” from all official government writing. The logic behind the decision is that mademoiselle is used to denote whether a woman is married or single, and this information no longer needs to be disclosed. The counterpart of mademoiselle, monsieur, simply means “sir” in French.

Interestingly, in France the use of mademoiselle, madame, or monsieur is used commonly from online shopping to opening bank accounts. French feminist groups “Dare to be Feminist!” and “The Watchdogs” are the main advocates for getting mademoiselle banned from all government documents.

In French, mademoiselle is used to denote an unmarried woman, and came into use during Napoleon I’s reign. Public opinion is mixed over the removal of the word mademoiselle by French women. Some applaud it as a step in the right direction of gender equality, while others believe that mademoiselle has been an inseparable part of French culture that should not be removed.

Other French feminists have also argued that this is just a sidetrack from the true issues of female rights in France and that the removal of the word mademoiselle from official use is only a distraction and do not amount to much. In contrast, at the Canadian province of Quebec, madame is used to denote women except for those that insist on being called mademoiselle.

Similarly, in English we use Mrs. when a woman is married and Ms. when she is not. But the US government hasn’t passed any opinions on this matter as far we know for now.

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2 Comments on "Au Revoir, Mademoiselle! French Ban the Word in Government Writing"

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“Similarly, in English we use Mrs. when a woman is married and Ms. when she is not. But the US government hasn’t passed any opinions on this matter as far we know for now.” Just want to make a correction on the use of Ms. In the 1972 the US printing office began using the Ms on their documents. american many women realized a long fought battle for the right to use Ms rather than Miss or Mrs. Miss and Mrs are the english equivalent of mademoisellle and madam; both denote martial status. Miss NOT Ms was used for an… Read more »
“Similarly, in English we use Mrs. when a woman is married and Ms. when she is not. But the US government hasn’t passed any opinions on this matter as far we know for now.” Just want to make a correction on the use of Ms. In the 1972 the US printing office began using the Ms on their documents. american many women realized a long fought battle for the right to use Ms rather than Miss or Mrs. Miss and Mrs are the english equivalent of mademoisellle and madam; both denote martial status. Miss NOT Ms was used for an… Read more »
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