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Is Calling a Woman Ma'am Offensive?

How Do You Feel About Being Called Ma'am?

About once a week, when I head to Jamba Juice, the guy behind the counter — without fail — will call me ma'am. While I realize the word, which is derived from the French "madame," is meant to be respectful and friendly, I can't help but feel anything but ancient whenever the words are uttered.

"Miss" is a more youthful term, and the shift from being called "miss" to "ma'am" is a subtle sign that I'm no longer 18. It's not a huge deal, and yet it needles me. How about you? How do you — or would you — feel about being called ma'am?

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Stephanie15338657 Stephanie15338657 3 years

In all honesty it makes me feel old, I am 31 going on 32 this June and even though I have finally accepted the fact that I'm in my 30's It seems to hit me more being called ma'am, but I understand that some people are raised to have manners and be respectful so i try not to make people feel bad for wanting to be respectful especially in today's society.

Vanessa1388528014 Vanessa1388528014 3 years
I don't care how old I am when I have NO naso labial folds, no belly like I had kids, NO eye bags, no small aging eyes who is somebody to assume my date of birth and marital status? They can talk to people without using titles
Vanessa1388528014 Vanessa1388528014 3 years
I don't think ma'am versus Miss has anything to do with sex appeal. I see girls around 17 who are obese and have a face only a mom can love called Miss and I see why hotter girls young and old called ma'am
Vanessa1388528014 Vanessa1388528014 3 years
I take excellent care of myself. I am 29 but I have injections of radiesse and some times juvederm and botox, I use expensive retinols, and I also use Alpha Hydroxy, I am very slim and wear junior clothes and have cute little curves so I take excellent care of my face and body, my hair is thick and long and I look 24 and I get called Miss and Ma'am but some days the ma'am is constantly and what annoys me is when I go to a specific restaurant this older guy waiter ma'ams me the whole time he is servicing me. Who is anyone to judge my age or marital status. I have big eyes and a baby face. And they don't just say it once but several times while they are waiting on me. They think they are being so respectful but they are making assumptions and annoying me. And I am not even middle age , come now and look very young.
Seashell14774714 Seashell14774714 3 years
AmyD68 AmyD68 4 years
I think it feels terrible to be called Ma'am (or when I was in Paris and sometimes got called Madame) From talking to friends as well it makes us all feel like we look over 30, dowdy unattractive etc. I know some people were raised that it is polite and I am sure that it is meant to be so...but still with so many people feeling badly hearing it I dont understand why people still insist on using it. I dont care if someone is noticably older - I think the only result of pointing that out is to make someone feel bad. If I saw someone heavier and I just casually pointed it out - ok they know they are heavy but maybe they were enjoying their day and didnt feel like thinking about it at that moment
iLilly iLilly 4 years
I didn't even know ma'am was considered offensive until my friend told me she calls snooty young female customers ma'am just to piss them off. I thought it was a sign of respect. I get called miss and ma'am and I am in my 20's. Obviously people have different views on what constitutes a ma'am versus a miss so it's probably not worth worrying about.   Also, if by chance a person addresses you with ma'am because you don't look like you just framed your prom photo (and they think miss is a term used only for the very young), there is nothing wrong with being considered a woman whose bearing deserves the respect of the term ma'am. My mom was her most beautiful at age 40, and at age 28, I am better looking than I was at 18. Being called ma'am does not mean you are no longer attractive.   Moreover, women who carry themselves with an air of respect and maturity are more likely to be called ma'am then a woman who acts like an idiot.   So Relax.
veronicaskyy2 veronicaskyy2 4 years
I have been called maam several times in my life and everytime is stings a little- Im 24. I take good care of myself, but dont feel I look the part of Maam, that being said I am happy there is a blog with posts dedicated to this- I feel better about my hang up about this topic :)
missredmini missredmini 5 years
Don't like it. I volunteer at the VA and after my first day I went to the military exchange and had a name tag made that I wear on my ID Badge. It say " My Name Is Not Mame"
kirbyspit kirbyspit 5 years
The issue is the fact that in the U.S. women are valued mainly for their sexual attractiveness, which is correlated with age. An older woman has less societal value because she has less sexual appeal. What we resent is being identified as too old to have sexual appeal; therefore less value as a person. Do you really want to support that? If you don't, you won't care if you're called ma'am.
Elite-Lady-Cathleen Elite-Lady-Cathleen 5 years
For me it depends on who is saying it and the delivery.
greear greear 5 years
I hate being called ma'am. It doesn't make me feel old, just GENERIC and insignificant. Like talking with a telephone solicitor. Sales clerks, etc., should call an older woman "madame"and a younger woman "miss", if they feel they must say anything at all. I prefer no title at all. Very irritating.
teenysquirrel teenysquirrel 5 years
Plus for me to call others 'ma'am, 'miss', 'sir' to others doesn't come to me naturally. Just weird.
teenysquirrel teenysquirrel 5 years
I DETEST MA'AM. It does make me feel ancient. Especially since I am not used to it. One time I was waiting in line @ Starbucks, this woman front of me was clearly older than me. The counterperson called her 'ma'am' while he called me 'miss'. So obviously service people are choosing the titles by judging women's ages. Meanwhile men all are 'sirs'. I got to just work on my self esteem and just accept that now I am more of a ma'am than miss. But sucks regardless.
Anjellarok Anjellarok 6 years
Just an expression of courtesy. I say "maam and sir" all the time.
JenniferVL JenniferVL 6 years
I agree on it depends who is saying it. If it is a soldier saying it , its ok because that is how they are suppose to address women. But anyone else saying it will just make me feel old. I'm good with miss or mrs since I am married.
SocialistLez SocialistLez 6 years
I hate it. I'm 20. Feel free to call me that when I'm 40. I know there are more important things to get worked up over so I try not to let this bother me.
lemonfluffable lemonfluffable 6 years
I feel old when someone calls me ma'am. But I don't freak out, and I don't feel like it's a hit to my ego. I just brush it off and go on with life. What annoys me more is being called honey, sweetie, or babe from some random person that I don't even know, such as a waitress or a customer on the phone!
Rosiesedz Rosiesedz 6 years
I work at a snack bar at an ice rink and when the kids come up to me and i give them what i want i LOVE when they say ma'am it makes me feel respected and it puts a smile on my face.
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 6 years
Once I stopped getting carded, I almost simultaneously went from being miss to ma'am. Sure, it makes me realize I can't be a young one forever, it's a lot better than "hey you," no doubt!
testadura67 testadura67 6 years
Geez, it's meant to be polite. Especially in the service industry where your waitor, hostess, cashier, whatever doesn't know your first or last name. When I worked retail, didn't matter if it was a little girl buying a candy bar or an 80 year old women filling her gas tank, she was "ma'am", just like any male who I waited on was "sir". Get over it people.
Jaime-Richards Jaime-Richards 6 years
GummiBears, You are a funny one! ;-)
GummiBears GummiBears 6 years
Eff it I am vain so I will admit that I get slightly annoyed by it.
0Payton0 0Payton0 6 years
I went to Subway a couple months ago, and I'm 14, and I this lady that was making my sandwich came to the counter she's like 'what would you like today?' so i tell her, and it took me a minute to think of what bread and sandwich i wanted, then when i was telling her what i wanted on the sandwich every other thing she said was 'ma'am' 'is that it ma'am' 'what would you like ma'am' && i HATE when people call me ma'am, i don't care what age, or what job i have, i would rather not have anyone call me miss or ma'am. i just don't like it, but the word ma'am urks me the most.
PNBeauty PNBeauty 6 years
I can't stand it! It begun last year and I don't get it too often but it makes me feel old. I couldn't stop wondering how old they thought I was.
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