No More Mademoiselle – the End of an Era in France?

No More Mademoiselle – the End of an Era in France?

The term mademoiselle has been officially banished from forms and documents in France.

As reported by the New York times, “As early as 1690, the terms “mademoiselle” and “demoiselle” were used to signify “unmarried female,” according to the French National Center for Textual and Lexical Resources. “Mademoiselle” entered into official use under Napoleon I, the creator of the French civil code, but came into broader use only in the 20th century, according to Laurence Waki, the author of a recent book on the subject.”

The move aims to place females on an equal footing to males, for whom the term monsieur makes no allusion to their marital status. From early 2012 official forms refer to Madame and ask for the name of use or nom d’usage rather than the previous nom de marriage, although the old forms can still be used while stocks last so … we’ll have mademoiselle for a little while yet.

Some people regret the loss of a term of politeness as political correctness gone too far while feminist applaud the change that couldn’t come soon enough.

What do you think? Girl power or loss of a subtlety of language?

Would you vote Oui or Non to the change?

Photo Louis Toque “Portrait de Mademoiselle de Coislin” ©The National Gallery, Londres, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / National Gallery Photographic Department via wikipedia

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Sylvia is a freelance journalist based in France, focusing on business and culture. A valued member of the France Media editorial team, Sylvia is a regular contributor to our publication.

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