It's one of the first distinctions visitors to France learn to make: the title "Mademoiselle" for young, unmarried women, and "Madame" for other women.
But now a feminist group is trying to scrap the traditional French equivalent of the English "Miss" with an online petition for it to be outlawed, leaving only "Madame" for all adult French women.
"The USA and Great Britain are more advanced than us on this subject," says the petition, put out by a 40-year-old psychoanalyst and supported by the group Les Chiennes de Garde (which means "The Female Guard Dogs" in English).
They argue that France is now ready for change like the English "Ms," which was first introduced into English a couple of decades ago in an effort to get rid of "Mrs" and "Miss."
The petition's author said she resolved to attack the use of "Mademoiselle" when she was forced to sign the title before her name while recently buying an apartment.
She argues on the Web site www.lapetition.com/sign1.cfm?numero=1099 that "Mademoiselle" is discriminatory because it differentiates between women who are sexually available and those who are not, whereas the simple "Monsieur" applied to all adult men does not.
As a result, the petition calls for "Madame" to be used in all cases.
The petition is due to be submitted to the French minister for sexual equality, Catherine Vautrin, within the next few months.
So far, the petition has more than 2,300 electronic signatures, according to Le Parisien newspaper. (AFP)
請願書寫到，「美國和英國在這方面比我們還先進」。該請願書是由一名四十歲的心理分析學家所發表，並得到 Les Chiennes de Garde（英文的意思是「女性看門狗」）團體的支持。
1. What do the French now call younger, unmarried women?
2. Which word in English can be used for all women?
3. The petition's author decided to work for change when ...
a. she couldn't buy an apartment.
b. she realized that "Ms" is used in English.
c. she was forced to sign her name using "Mademoiselle."
4. The petition wants all French women to be called ...
她在網站 www.lapetition.com/sign1.cfm?numero=1099 上主張，「Mademoiselle」將女性依性行為合宜性作區分，有歧視意味，反觀適用所有成年男子的「Monsieur」便無這層意涵。