Following on from the post I wrote earlier in the week, I decided to poll some of my friends as to whether they used Miss or Ms and whether they would change it on marriage to Mrs, and what they thought of being addressed as Mrs Husband'sFirstName Husband'sSurname.
In my friendship group, which arguably you could say is not the widest demographic, but I spoke to friends from different places (i.e. not just people I went to university with), different countries and different parts of the UK. All of them chose to use Miss as their title except for the one that is married who used to use Miss and now uses Mrs. Now, you could say that my friends are just all middle-class and slightly conservative (with a lower case c) and like tradition. Fine. We probably are, but I just wanted to make the point that not everyone wants to use Ms and sees Miss/Mrs as regressive.
Interestingly however, it was some of the men I spoke to who thought women should not be defined by their marital status (although he was happy enough to be Mr and Mrs) and that he believed I was wrong to think that it didn't matter. I found this viewpoint rather interesting and to my mind theoretically simply another form of oppression towards women. So instead of the woman railing against belonging to her husband, she accepts the situation, content and secure in her own position within the relationship, yet the man then turns round and says "but you are wrong to be content, you should be unhappy at this situation".
I think it really comes down to tradition. There are those people who accept tradition, even favour tradition. For those people they do not see being addressed as Mr and Mrs Husband'sFirstName Husband'sSurname as indicating a power dynamic within their relationship, or as oppressive, or that they in some way belong to their husband like chattel, they simply see it as a traditional form of address and not something that they are bothered about. I, and all my female friends that I spoke to, fall into this category. And then there are those who dislike tradition and all that they perceive it stands for. Those are the people that would contest the use of Mrs and favour Ms.
I certainly think that there is room for both of these viewpoints within the world. Indeed, it could be argued that it would be rather dull if we all agreed about everything. I just personally can't understand this desire, which is particularly true of women, to make someone else's choice out to be a bad choice. We can't seem to just accept that we have differing opinions, we somehow need to vilify people for their choice. We seem to often mistake "I do not agree" for "I do not understand therefore I think you are wrong... and these are the reasons why". It would be really nice to see women supporting each other's viewpoints - unless they are of course morally unacceptable or illegal (I am not suggesting we start supporting the decision to kill people) - and standing by our right as women to choice. And that includes *both* options.