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France finally drops the honorific for unmarried women. They are all 'madame'
There are no longer any mademoiselles in France. Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said that the honorific for unmarried Frenchwomen will be banished from all official documents. While Frenchmen, young and old, married and single, went by "monsieur", the women had to tick the madame/mademoiselle box for everything from opening a bank account to booking a train ticket, leading feminists to raise the cry, "There is one box too many on these forms." As Fillon finally admitted, women had to declare their matrimonial status without any necessity or justification.
Mademoiselle — the three syllables that trip through the lip with a quaint Gallic charm have a complicated etymology. It comes from ma and demoiselle meaning "my girl", demoiselle itself referring to oiselle meaning "virgin" or "simpleton". The word which has been around since the time Bonaparte rode through Paris became an invasive label for many and outdated for an equal society. And it had to go. The Germans did that to "fraulein" decades ago. The English-speaking world has found "Ms" to avoid the Miss/Mrs distinction.
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