Thursday, April 3, 2008

Will Miss Piggy drop the "Miss"?

I had an interesting experience yesterday with my 3-year-old daughter. We were at my folks' house and she was playing with my old Miss Piggy puppet. However, I could not get my daughter to call the puppet Miss Piggy. Instead, she kept calling her Mrs. Piggy. Which got me thinking - will her generation eliminate the title "Miss" from our language?

Americans are increasingly becoming less formal in their speech. Generation Xers and Millennials don't use formal titles very often - especially for women - unless that person is a teacher or someone's mom. I have a hard time remembering the last time I heard someone call a woman "Miss" anything (except Miss America).

I did a little digging on the title Miss and it is a shortened version of Mistress that was used in the 17th Century. In the 21st Century, Mistress means something a lot different than "single woman."

In the 70s, a lot of women stopped using both Miss and Mrs in favor of Ms. Then it was a political statement. I think we can thank the Boomers for doing this. I believe a woman's marital status is no longer her defining quality.


Carla S. said...

Interesting idea. I think you might be on to something. In this day and age, having a separate determiner depending on marital status, just for one gender, seems outdated. Do you think we could lose the Mrs. and just have all women be Ms.?

Anonymous said...

Miss, Mrs, Ms....they are ALL better then "MAAM"....


Kristina said...

Or how about just first names? My mother and her friends never insisted I use "Mrs." I either didn't call them anything, or by first names.

However, my neighbor -- in her 70s -- made it be known she did not like it when my son called her by her first name.

Anonymous said...

I can see why you kept the puppet. The resemblance is uncanny! Do you have a French boyfriend?

Kathy said...

Hey Anon., your remark about French boyfriends and a Miss Piggy resemblance is incredibly rude. Those of us who are French might take offense at your insinuation that the French are frogs - not to mention the big insult you make to GenXer Suzanne. Mom was right on this one, though: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." And dad would have this to say: "That's someone's daughter you're talking about."

Really - if you're going to be that rude, you could at least do the rest of us the courtesy of signing your name. But then - that's the kind of chickenshit thing that you probably like about the Internet. Lets you be rude and be anonymous all at the same time.

And while that may not be a nice thing to say, at least it's truthful.

Kathy English

GenXpert said...

@Kathy - that was incredibly sweet to come to my defense (and that of the French people)! I'm not deleting the comment, because I'm a believer in live by the sword, die by the sword (even if the other person is clearly a douche). Plus, I'm assuming my resemblence to Mademoselle Pig is because of my fabulous long blonde hair ;)

To my other readers, you should really check out Kathy's blog ( I'm more than a little proud that I was one of the first to encourage her to start it - she has a great perspective and is a brilliant writer.