Ms. or Mrs.?
Family Food Traditions
By Jeana Kim-Bolt
When a man is addressed, he is called Mr. [surname]. When a woman is addressed, she is called Mrs., Miss, or Ms. [surname]. Why do women have different titles when men do not? This tradition stems from sexist roots when wives were considered to be owned by their husbands and it was necessary for women to show their status. It’s crucial that we recognize the inequality behind these honorific titles and the reasons why they exist.
Mr. or Mister is an honorific title given to men, if they are married or not. Miss is a title given to unmarried women, while Mrs. or Missus is given to married women. Historically, it was important for people to know whether a woman (specifically, a woman of higher social rank, since lower-class women were simply addressed by their names) was “taken” or not. This was true even in public or official settings, so only Miss and Mrs. were used. Additionally, it was very common for couples to be referred to as Mr. and Mrs. [husband’s full name], as though the woman was not her own person.
In early 1901, a Springfield, Massachusetts newspaper brought up the issue of not having a female equivalent of Mr. The issue was picked up by certain areas around the country, but was quickly forgotten. The problem did not gain much public attention until the 1960s and 1970s when well-known feminists Sheila Michaels and Gloria Steinem endorsed Ms. (pronounced “miz”), which was a combination of Miss and Mrs. that could be used regardless of marriage status. Since then, Ms. has become much more commonplace, but Mrs. is still used quite often (although viewed as more traditional).
Currently, we also have other problems with our titling system, such as our lack of a popular gender-neutral title. Some nonbinary teachers have started to use the title Mx. (pronounced “mix”), as well as less common alternatives such as Misc., Ind., or M. Unfortunately, there have been a handful of cases where school administrations don’t accept the use of these titles when teachers request them or provide nonbinary titles as options for staff.
A different debate has arisen around the use of last names versus first names in the school environment. Although more common in private schools than public schools, a growing number of teachers have started to instruct their students to call them by their first name without the use of an honorific title. Proponents argue that the general use of titles to signify respect no longer holds true and that use of first names lessens the social barrier between student and teacher. In many schools, this first name method has helped students and teachers grow a mutual relationship based on partnership as opposed to formal respect. While it seems as though this plan will not gain traction in the near years, it could provide an alternative in the future that would eradicate the problems surrounding titles.
The current use of honorific titles are heavily influenced by gender stereotypes and yet are extremely prevalent in the U.S. Many female teachers at our school go by Mrs. despite the fact that most if not all male teachers go by Mr. People should be able to use and be called whichever title they prefer, whether it be Ms., Mrs., Miss, Mr., Mx., or something else entirely, but it is important that we understand the sexism behind these traditions so we do not enforce or expect them.
Delfino, Devon. “Here’s How to Know the Difference Between Miss, Mrs., and Ms., and Mx.” Grammarly Blog, Grammarly Inc., 28 June 2021, https://www.grammarly.com/blog/ms-mrs-miss-difference/.
Heuzenroeder, Catherine. “Students on first-name basis with teachers as titles become old school.” ABC News, ABC, 1 Feb. 2018, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-01/students-on-first-name-basis-with-teachers-titles-become-old/9379138.
Kesslen, Ben. “Ms., Mr. or Mx.? Nonbinary teachers embrace gender-neutral honorific.” NBC News, NBC Universal, 20 Jan. 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/ms-mr-or-mx-nonbinary-teachers-embrace-gender-neutral-honorific-n960456.
By Charlotte Olson
Ask anyone what their favorite part of the holiday season is, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear about the food: the family traditions, the recipes passed down through generations. But the past two years have changed the way people cook for each other, “mainly because they quit cooking for each other, and started cooking for themselves,” says culinary instructor, Chef Joel Olson of Hemmachef.
People were by themselves for a while, longing for the connection of cooking with and for others; family traditions had to be adapted so they could be virtual or socially distanced. Everyone wanted the comfort of a childhood meal, reliving memories of ‘easier times.’ Loads of people were trying to exactly recreate family recipes, putting the same levels of care and attention to detail into the food as their parents and grandparents had. The desire for this food and the memories brought with it were for comfort.
People have been cooking and sharing recipes for millenia—through oral and family traditions, then cookbooks, blogs, and now TikTok and social media. Cooking has gotten more accessible and much less formal.
“The fact that people are cooking is a good thing; that people are cooking from scratch is a good thing. It’s powerful when you’re able to take your nutrition into your own hands,” said Chef Joel. Cooking has been a passion for him his whole life, and he didn’t want to ‘ruin it’ by turning it into a career. After working as a private chef but not enjoying it, he became a culinary instructor: “I remember realizing that I wanted to cook with people and not for them.” He loves seeing people getting inspired by cooking—learning new techniques, trying new foods, experimenting with new flavors. “For the first time in my life, I’m excited to get into the kitchen and cook,” said a woman in one of Chef Joel’s cooking classes.
This holiday season you can expect lots of good meals, and hopefully the feeling of togetherness once again.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1½-2 pounds butternut squash, cut in half and seeded
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
½ tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon parsley stems
2 bay leaves
4-6 cups chicken stock, depending on how thick or thin you want it
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the squash cut side up, on a sheet tray and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the squash is soft, about an hour. The squash will get brown but that is okay. Remove and let cool a bit. Scrape the flesh from the skin and remove any overly brown pieces. Meanwhile, sweat the onions in the olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Tie the herbs in a cheesecloth bundle, (Bouquet Garni, BG). Add to the pot. Add the squash pulp and enough chicken stock to create the desired consistency of soup. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes or so to allow the flavors to develop. Remove the BG and puree the soup. Taste to see if it needs more salt and/or pepper. Serve the soup hot and garnish if desired with the following.