Mrs., Ms. or Miss: Addressing Modern Women

Going by Ms. was once a statement. What does it tell us if it's now become a matter of convenience?

Illustration by Hadley Hooper for TIME

Just about every day, I am reminded that I haven't quite decided who I am. This morning I filled out the application for an International Driving Permit: circle Miss, Mrs. or Ms. You would think that by now, I would know which it is.

So I did an unscientific survey of married friends and found that none of them had a clue either. At work and out in the world, I'm Ms. Gibbs; at my daughters' school and the pediatrician, I am Mrs. May; to a few people who've known me since I was 2, Miss Nancy. Some friends use their...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!