First a note that this post is not directly about RA, so if you’re searching for info on that topic, please check out my other posts.
I’ve been contemplating our changing social mores lately and about our roles as chronic illness patients. With this as a backdrop, this morning I was creating an account on the website of a British company. In the pull-down menu of salutations, there was “Mx.” listed along with the usual litany of “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Ms.”, “Dr.”, etc.
Although this has been around for awhile, I had never seen this designation before. I could only conclude that it would be used by individuals who didn’t think their gender or marital status was either relevant to the situation or perhaps anyone’s business.
Being in the generation that gleefully dropped the Mrs. vs. Miss designation in favor of Ms. for women, this seems like a logical next step. (Although after being married for more than 20 years, I have adopted the more classic “Mrs.” when asked.)
But it makes me wonder if we need these designations at all — at least for social and most business interactions. I find that things that label us tend to separate us — gender, religion, race, age, etc. This opens the door for “us/them” discrimination. Does it really matter if we address an envelope to “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” as opposed to “John and Jane Smith”? And why should we have to list our marital title (which also reveals our gender) on a website? Does it matter if I’m a Mr., a Mrs., or a Miss as long as my credit card works?
I do believe we should allow people who have earned titles to continue to use them if they wish — such as Dr. So-and-So. And certainly the military or other organizations that rely on an established chain of command should continue to use them (at least internally).
But I am given to wonder if the great unwashed rest of us should even bother with these designations and what great cataclysmic event(s) would occur if we simply stopped. Would all those empty data fields in all those trillions of databases simply collapse and crash cyberspace? (And would that be a bad thing if it did?) Would the worldwide ink companies suddenly go bankrupt because we quit writing/printing the salutation on the front of envelopes and therefore used less ink?
I think the British are on to something with their “Mx.” idea. I’m just not sure they’ve gone far enough. (I didn’t see “none of the above” or “none of your business” options.)
I hope that your designation today is both healthy and happy, because really that’s all that matters. Thanks for checking in.