Thanks DSK: The end of Mademoiselle

It’s an ironic byproduct of the sordid DSK affair: the title Mademoiselle is being quietly phased out.

DSK unwittingly unleashed a major feminist “click” moment:  The debacle with the hotel maid was bad enough, but watching the French male establishment circle the wagons to insist that that the 7-minute encounter was a ‘seduction’  (“… and even if it wasn’t, what’s the big deal?”) gave French women pause.

Serious introspection ensued, and not only was it admitted that the “vive la difference” attitude in the French workplace was maybe not so great, but also the quaint tradition of  addressing women according to their marital status (but not men, who are all Monsieur, regardless) came under the microscope.   Several women’s groups put forward that marital status was really nobody’s business…especially considering that the French find it impolite to inquire even about one’s profession or family status, deeming these questions overly personal.

Cleverly avoiding the hullabaloo that surrounded the creation of ‘Ms’ (the 1970’s American solution), last week the French government just quietly announced that Mademoiselle will be removed from all government forms, leaving the choice only between Madame and Monsieur.  The old forms will be used up, but when it’s time to be reprinted: bye bye Mademoiselle… or shall we say, adieu?

Merci DSK.  …Ironic, isn’t it, as it seems that DSK has such a penchant for the Mademoiselles!

Click here for Henri Salvador’s tribute.

La Point: Ne m’appelez plus Mademoiselle  and  Herald Tribune: Mademoiselle exits official France


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