‘Call female teachers SIR’, demand feminist academics in bid to end ‘sexist’ culture in the classroom

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DailyMail: Calling a female teacher “Miss” is sexist and should be banned in the classroom, academics have demanded. Pupils should instead refer to teachers by their first names – or even call all women at school “Sir” – to end the discrimination.

Calling teachers “Miss” allegedly exposes children “to the prejudices of the previous generation”, experts writing in the influential education journal the Times Educational Supplement said.

The titles used in British schools can be traced back hundreds of years, the academics said. Sir was first used in 16th century classrooms when male teachers from the lower classes were trying to stamp their authority on aristocratic young boys.

But Miss is a throwback to the 1800s when schools only hired single female teachers – because women gave up work after marrying.

Sir Coates...

Sir Coates…

Jennifer Coates, a top professor of English at Roehampton University, said the traditional titles in schools needed to be scrapped. She said: “It’s a depressing example of how women are given low status and men, no matter how young or new in the job they are, are given high status.”

“Sir is a knight. There weren’t women knights, but “Miss” is ridiculous: it doesn’t match “Sir” at all. It’s just one of the names you can call an unmarried woman.”

The academic complained that when she went to teach at her local secondary school the children did not call her “Professor”. “I was extremely surprised,” she said.

“The men on the staff are all in their twenties and they were all called Sir. I didn’t think there was this awful disparity between professorial status and these young teachers, but they’re all Sir and I’m not.

She claimed that Sir comes from “Sire” – which is what people called the king. Professor Coates claimed that “part of the history of the English language is sexism”.

Sir Lakoff...

Sir Lakoff…

Robin Lakoff, a professor at the University of California, added: “The thing about Sir is that it always conveys respect.” She said: “It always means that this person is higher in status than me, and I owe them respect for that. Miss doesn’t.

“You can use Miss disparagingly: ‘Hey, Miss, what do you think you’re doing?”

It says that you can never expect the respect that’s due to a man because you’re not a man and therefore not as good. It’s very hard to create linguistic equality between people, who in many people’s minds, aren’t equal.


Education historian Jacob Middleton told the teaching journal that Britain should “probably want to go down the route of referring to female teachers as Sir as well”. He said this would “raise the semantic status of women“.

Sara Mills, a professor specializing in “feminist linguistics” at Sheffield Hallam University said pupils should call teachers by their first names only. “That’s the way things are moving,” she said. “Americanisation and these camaraderie norms, where you move as quickly as possible to the most informal term. I think that’s a driver of a lot of things in English culture and English language at the moment.”

“Sometimes teachers find that they can control students more when they try to stress the similarities between them, rather than trying to keep as distant as possible.”

Professor Lakoff claimed all male teachers should be called “Mr” followed by their surname and all female teachers as “Ms” followed by their surname.

But Debbie Costlett, a chief executive overseeing the three schools in south-east England rejected the claim the “Miss” was sexist. She said: “I don’t really think there’s a disparity between them. It’s a title, isn’t it? My response is always that my name isn’t Miss; it’s Mrs. Coslett.”

“But if I’m in a school where students don’t know me and they call me Miss, I’m fine with that. They’re showing respect by giving me a title, rather than “hey” or “you” or whatever. Sir is a term you might call a man.

“You wouldn’t call anyone Mrs or Lady or Dame or whatever. That’s just the way the English language works.



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0 responses to “‘Call female teachers SIR’, demand feminist academics in bid to end ‘sexist’ culture in the classroom

  1. Lakoff looks like a “Sir” anyway!

  2. Julia, they always do. LOL
    Also it says
    ““You can use Miss disparagingly: ‘Hey, Miss, what do you think you’re doing?”
    Umm I can use Sir disparagingly also.
    ” Hey, Sir, I think you’re a real schmuck”
    and her point was…. They have no point, no lives no brains.
    The pendulum will swing back soon and hard. Just ignore these ignoramuses.

  3. When is this silliness going to stop!?

    • Pnordman, I know we feel like it will never end. I want to start bashing heads sometimes over the sheer stupidity. But a thought has come to me. What do you think of this?
      Up until say the 40’s America was Great and pretty family oriented and fairly religious., now bear with me. OK so along comes the 50’s and Elvis and Rock and Roll. People started freaking and the parents all thought we were going to hell. Eternal damnation. LOL I mean they couldn’t even show Elvis swivel his hips.
      Alright let’s fast forward 60’s-70’s hippies , Woodstock Watergate. Freelove, drugs everywhere.
      My point is it was a pretty screwed up time. Ronald Reagan , hippies get old. Wars end…..
      I don’t know we sorta righted the ship for a while it seemed to me.
      People just need a little backbone in this country. We need to call these people what they are and move on.
      You meet them , and they say “Please call me Sir”
      You go ” OK, you’re weird Sir, have a nice day”
      move on.
      Why waste one precious second on nincompoops anymore.
      Just move on smiling and whistling. 😎

  4. Talk about the REAL war on women and normal. So now I’m supposed to HIDE that I’m a woman???? Burkha next?

  5. These are idiot women who think this way. What is wrong with them? If they are that unhappy and think that they should be referred to by a male title, then they should become men. They still wouldn’t be happy.

  6. These “oppressed” females look more like “mam” to me. Kinda odd how feminists want to be called “sir” when it’s a masculine term. Do they feel “equal” being addressed as a man? They are basically saying they feel better when referred to in the masculine…so, how is that feminine? Oh, right, feminism isn’t about being feminine…but becoming more masculine.

    • Not just that, Feminism is a hate movement against women and all things feminine, it seeks to completely destroy femininity and replace it with masculinity, the patriarchy *is* feminism, misogyny *is* feminism.

      Such a shame these women are intentionally ruining their lives and themselves by trying to be men, and spewing hate-speech at any term that designates them as feminine… such is psychosis.

  7. Sir is being used on some television shows and it is sickening. Calling a woman sir is inappropriate and demeaning, women are not men, why would you want that; yoi are basically saying that women are nt good enough the way they are, lets do something to help the poor things out, sad. Women are great and they need no pseudo-enhancement.

    • Exactly Karl—-if anyone called me “Sir,” I’d be highly insulted…like you, I figure it would be a mockery of me….that I am not good enough to stand on my own and that being female is a dead-end no matter what my talents & intellect…..which we know from history is NOT the truth. Doing ANYTHING great or to your nth-degree to grow & achieve is hard for anyone–no matter the gender….as it should be—and both genders have their assets and mountains to climb. So, hanging a false moniker on me, worse yet, one that denies my existence and includes me ONLY if I’m tagged as a “sir” (which is NOT an inclusive term in the least, and—remember…it’s only ONE letter SHORT of “sire”…and they share that same root)…..really steams my pipes!

  8. Hence the need for all those “gender neutral” terms that some bored sir(s) have come up with!

  9. Can’t imagine a truly self-confident woman even giving “titles” a second thought.

  10. This goofy situation looks like a job for a mental health professional.


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