Yes, It Matters

Jan 31 2014 Published by under Feminist Musings

Vacation planning can brighten up an otherwise tedious period of time when the weather is less than ideal and work is, well, work. The other day a hotel site greeted me with the following choices for my title:

Required field, no less

Required field, no less

This web site insisted that I pick a title, either Mr (which is inappropriate for my gender identity), or a female title that immediately tells them my marital status. I declined and ended up booking the same hotel through another site.

Most web sites will let me opt out of a title. Some insist on it, but provide appropriate options like Ms. I can also choose Dr. at many sites, one that is completely appropriate as well. Some sites go a little crazy, including everything you can imagine: Honorable, Reverend, Sir, Dame, Marchioness, and every military rank ever.

Now, if someone calls me Mrs. Lane in real life, I don't get snitty. I just answer*. I do use my married name personally and professionally, and there is no sense being rude to people. When a web site asks for my personal information so they can contact me, they better give me an option I like, including the option to not identify a title. After all, why do they need to know my gender and marital status to book my hotel room?

I used to ignore such things, but over time I have realized that labels can be quite important. I have learned that ignoring such things means they never change. In the 21st century, why should a woman's identification include her marital status?

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*Unless they call me Mrs. James Lane. Then they will get politely corrected.

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