Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 17:21:10 -0500
From: Alan Baragona baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VAX.VMI.EDU
Subject: Re: Ms.

Beverly Flanigan wrote:

"Traditional" is a relative term, of course. In general, 'Ms' is catching
on widely in the U.S. and bears little stigma (except in the South? But
remember Ms. Lillian!).

There may have been some newspapers who spelled it "Ms. Lillian," but I
would just about
bet the farm that it was Southern "Miz Lillian," which has absolutely
nothing to do with "Ms." or the concept behind it.

And in any case, the term is alive and well,
whether it "makes sense" or not. BTW, I'm the opposite of your older PEI
woman: When addressed as Mrs., I say "Ms., if you please"--and I always get
a polite acceptance of it. I teach a course on Language and Gender, and
students never have a problem with the term.

I'd agree that actual hostility to the term may have shrunk to Limbaugh
sized pockets, but polite acceptance of the term when it is presented to
them as a political choice doesn't necessarily mean that in its everyday
use it hasn't been reinterpreted to fall into the older socio-political
paradigm of "Mrs./Miss". I don't even think it was conscious; I think
it has simply become a matter of force of habit.