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FENWAYGIRL18 Posts: 5,868
6/8/13 3:38 P

I'd rather just have them say excuse me can I help you? You don't have to put a label on a person for their gender or age and that's just as respectful.....

ONLINEASLLOU SparkPoints: (64,651)
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6/8/13 11:51 A

I TOTALLY agree with Love4Kitties. We women should INSIST on being called Ma'am, etc. and not accept being referred to as "girls" once we become adults.

People may think, "Oh, it's just a little thing. Don't make a political issue of it." But those social conventions reflect and promote social standards of thought and behavior. I work in a traditional "women's occupation" - nursing - and regularly have to work hard to overcome the subtle, yet very effective, traditions and social conventions the "keep women in their place" (below men) in the workplace.

Studies repeatly show that women get less respect and make less money than men even when we do work of similar importance and requiring similar expertise. We need to combat that by not accepting "2nd class treatment" and by embracing our maturity, experience, and the expertise those things lead to.

We can't do that unless we get comfortable with being grown-ups worthy of respect -- and not cling to the immature image of ourselves as "sweet little young things" that can't take of ourselves or handle important responsibilities.

I remember the first time I was called "Ma'am" -- in a grocery store by a bag boy. I was in my early 30's and it felt good.

Edited by: ONLINEASLLOU at: 6/8/2013 (11:52)
EOWYN2424 Posts: 7,231
6/8/13 9:04 A

I HATE it when people in the 20s call me "Auntie"!

Please!!! I'm not THAT old!!!! emoticon

GLAMIAM SparkPoints: (0)
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6/8/13 8:55 A

Our society doesn't value age in women. Ma'am connotes a certain age, therefore it's generally not taken as a compliment. Age and the terms that go with it don't connote respect (not where I'm from). We value youth, beauty, thinness and money. Are the values mixed up, yes probably, but that's the reality of it.

For men, this isn't the case. Age looks good on a man and the term "Sir" does carry with it respect. Therefore the terms "be a man", "man up", etc.

I get called both. When I'm dressed down- jeans and a t shirt, I get called Miss. When I'm dressed in office attire for work, I get Ma'am and I admit I don't like it.

Edited by: GLAMIAM at: 6/8/2013 (08:56)
LJBKENT SparkPoints: (112,030)
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6/8/13 7:57 A

When I received my Navy commission.


6/8/13 7:56 A

When I first traveled in the South on business.

GEVANS7 SparkPoints: (177,514)
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6/8/13 6:51 A

When a polite young person called me ma'am. It's called respect.

SUZIEQUE77 SparkPoints: (9,260)
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Posts: 1,065
6/8/13 6:14 A

I don't mind being called Ma'am and don't recall when i was first called that but I'm 54 and married but still called "Miss" sometimes and i don't mind that either. I really don't like being called "honey" by complete strangers though, but it happens.

ELLES26 Posts: 447
6/8/13 1:09 A

No idea...but it has happened!

WENDIBUGG Posts: 674
6/8/13 12:44 A

Where I'm from it is a term of respect and age doesn't really factor into it. It's what people say to get your attention or when they do not know your name for the most part. Also used with children being respectful to anyone older than they are.

MASHAMOO Posts: 1,667
6/8/13 12:23 A

I consider the term to be one of respect. I can't remember when I first became one, and I introduce myself as "Miss Mashamoo" but it doesn't bother me at all. I'd much rather be Ma'am than be addressed by my first name.

LAST20FORME SparkPoints: (4,152)
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6/7/13 11:22 P

I'm always called Miss which makes me chuckle at my age. I think if you have a wedding ring you are called Ma'am after age 30 and if no wedding ring they call you Miss till about 104.

ETHELMERZ SparkPoints: (162,206)
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6/7/13 10:47 P

What is it with our current culture, that it is a dirty, bad, thing to be "old", anyway?? When did that happen, and is it the fault of People magazine or the media, stupid tv shows??? Interesting topic.

I began being called Ma'M around age 64 or so, and it was while visiting in the south, Texas, to be exact. Maybe that is why we are moving there, different than Calif., anyway.

ANGHARAD3 Posts: 966
6/7/13 10:22 P

When I turned 53.

NAOLEE Posts: 4,851
6/7/13 10:13 P


JANIEWWJD SparkPoints: (374,232)
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6/7/13 10:09 P

When I started teaching at the age of 22.

TERRI77 SparkPoints: (367,855)
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6/7/13 7:00 P

Sometime around age 30.

STRONGERLEANER SparkPoints: (143,111)
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6/7/13 5:48 P

It's definitely a custom that is prevalent in the south. It's considered good etiquette here.

We're taught to say "sir" and "ma'am" and Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms. We were taught that adults have titles that should be used. When you don't know a name to use Mr./Mrs./etc, you use "sir" or ''ma'am."

Other areas and businesses also follow the same type of protocol.

SCHEALTHNUTT SparkPoints: (49,055)
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6/7/13 3:58 P

As soon as I moved to the south!!!

SHANSDOINIT79 SparkPoints: (7,003)
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Posts: 240
6/7/13 3:49 P

Eventhough love4kitties is shouldnt bother some of us..but you know what? Ill be honest and admit it does bother me when Im occasionally referred to as ma'am. I wsnt to be a miss forever, darn it! Lol. I noticed I was called Ma'am alot more during pregnancy.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,618
6/7/13 3:45 P

I don't understand how we, as women, have let a term that's supposed to convey respect turn into something that we feel is a comment on our age...a subtle insult, if you will.

Young, unmarried, men and boys (children) are supposed to be "Master" and young, unmarried women and girls (children) are supposed to be "Miss." Men don't get upset when they start being called "Mister" and they don't get upset when people start calling them "sir" so why should women get upset about "Ma'am?" Is it because we see being mature women as something "less than" or undesirable?

Speaking of "girls" I also do NOT understand why it has become so common for people to refer to full-grown adult women as GIRLS. We don't refer to adult men as "boys." I find it horribly insulting, as an adult woman, to be referred to as a "girl."

I'd much rather be called "ma'am" and be given the respect that I and other adult women should be given rather than being called a "girl." I am NOT a girl. I am NOT a child. I am not a "miss." I am an adult woman. So people who don't know my name or my title should call me "ma'am" especially if they are obviously younger than me. I don't mind at all and, in fact, I expect to be treated with respect.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 6/7/2013 (15:53)
MOM2ACAT SparkPoints: (190,535)
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Posts: 30,457
6/7/13 3:17 P


Edited by: MOM2ACAT at: 6/7/2013 (16:04)
KENZYE Posts: 357
6/7/13 3:08 P

All I know is that the word should be banned from everyones vocabulary.

DROPCONE Posts: 1,592
6/7/13 2:58 P

I became "ma'am" ages ago! And "sir" for snarky subordinates. Beats being late & lamented!

REDPANDA10 Posts: 361
6/7/13 2:55 P

I have only ever been called Ma'am once. I am in Scotland and was on the phone to an American store about an online purchase.

FENWAYGIRL18 Posts: 5,868
6/7/13 2:50 P

The other day I was in the store after a doctor's appointment, I asked where something was and the person (who wasn't that young) can I help you Ma'am? I thought to myself OMG I'm a Ma'am? I said to my husband when did I become a Ma'am ? He started laughing I said I've been a Miss and now I'm a MA'AM????????
Boy did that make me feel OLD..... emoticon

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