“Mademoiselle” No Longer Allowed In Government Documents
3:15 pm, February 23rd | by Laura Donovan
In the months following complaints from feminist organizations about the word “mademoiselle” — which translates to an unmarried woman, France prime minister Francois Fillon has ordered government officials to transition out of using the word on administrative documents, as “mademoiselle” reveals a woman’s “matrimonial situation…without justification nor necessity,” according to The New York Times.
The contentious debate made worldwide headlines last year when feminist groups, Les Chiennes de Garde (Watchdogs) and Osez le Feminisme (Dare to be Feminist) said that the two female addresses, “madame” and “mademoiselle” indicate whether a woman is taken or hitched and that no female should have to say whether she is single or married. “madame” is similar to the English equivalent of “Mrs.” and “mademoiselle” translates to “Miss,” but there is no middle ground like English’s “Ms.” There’s only one word for men, “monsieur,” which isn’t telling of his marital status.
The “mademoiselle” fight has reportedly been going on for nearly 30 years ago, so it’s a relief that these women’s voices are finally being heard. In 1983, former Minister of Women’s Rights, Yvette Roudy stated that “mademoiselle” was discriminatory. Les Chiennes de Garde spoke out against it six years ago as well. We know the French have wanted some sort of change for a while, and while it’s great that the government is making some adjustments, France could go another step further by coming up with their language’s equivalent of “Ms.”