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    #1

    question a bout mentioning sex

    Hi, can you help me, I am contacting with a professor in internet and he always adress me as "Mr" while I am female, I just want to mention him that I'm female by a formal phrase and in a polite way...
    which phrase i can use?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    One simple way is to sign your name 'XXXX XXXXX (Ms)'

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    #3

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    If you don't want to give your name, you can just say "Professor, before we go further, I'm a female." Believe me, he will not be offended.

    John

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    #4

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    Hang on. Is the professor living in Iran? He may simply be doing something to be tactful, in that his wife, or colleagues, expect him to refrain from exchanging private messages with a young, single female. If that is the case, he may be using "Mr" to allow himself to be blameless in entertaining your correspondence.

    It reminds me of a French definition of the difference between mere politeness, and tact, which is far better:

    A theatre writer opens the door to a dressing room and sees an actress in a state of undress. He quickly closes the door, saying, "I'm sorry, mademoiselle."

    This is merely polite. If he had been tactful, he would have said: "Excuse me, monsieur."

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    #5

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    If konungursvia is right, alfabenfi, and this seems possible to me, and if you want to continue the correspondence, then it would appear to be better to maintain the fiction that you are Mr XXXX.

    Of course, you may consider that to be dishonest/immoral. We can't help you with that question.

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    #6

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Hang on. Is the professor living in Iran? He may simply be doing something to be tactful, in that his wife, or colleagues, expect him to refrain from exchanging private messages with a young, single female. If that is the case, he may be using "Mr" to allow himself to be blameless in entertaining your correspondence.

    I would think that in 2011 it is common knowledge that both male and female students have reason to correspond with their college professors, and that male professors are able to exchange email messages with single females without fear of any suspicion of inappropriate behavior. Indeed, even in Saudi Arabia, which is far more restrictive in its mores/laws/conventions regarding women, a 2006 study by the University of Jordan deemed acceptable for female students to correspond with male professors, as long as they phrased their text appropriately using the standard respectful/polite wording that is expected in face-to-face communication.

    That said, I think that alfabeni should subtly indicate her gender by signing her next email to the professor "First Name Last Name (Miss)" (or Ms. or Mrs., whichever is appropriate). I feel certain that the professor's error is one of innocent ignorance, probably because alfabeni's gender is not immediately apparent from her given name. I have had to do the same with my own signature countless times over the years both in academic and business correspondence, because apparently my first name doesn't automatically indicate "I'm a girl!!"

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    #7

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    I agree that the best way to do it is to sign your next email:

    Yours

    Ms [Your name]

    That way, you don't have to find a phrase to say "I'm female", he will have learnt something and you both know where you stand. If konungvursia is right and he's not meant to correspond with a female, then you won't get any more replies and you'll be able to guess what happened. If he's a professor with students of both genders though, I can't imagine you're the only female student he corresponds with.

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    #8

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    Thanks every body!
    My professor is from switzerland (German spoken), He is SO formal and seems to me very nonflexible, since my name(it's persian) is not familiar for him, the sex is not easy to guess ...my cover letter has been in French which is clear that I am female(since in French, female adjectives are used differently) and my CV.. but it seems he does n''t pay attention the signs even though we have written a lot of letters...I also once wanted to sign as Miss XXXX but I thought he may think I'm noticing him that he should respect me. and now I want to make an oppintment, I don't like make him surprised.
    but signing as XXXX(Ms) seems a good idea!
    thanks
    Last edited by alfabenfi; 10-Nov-2011 at 01:39.

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    #9

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Hang on. Is the professor living in Iran? He may simply be doing something to be tactful, in that his wife, or colleagues, expect him to refrain from exchanging private messages with a young, single female. If that is the case, he may be using "Mr" to allow himself to be blameless in entertaining your correspondence.

    It reminds me of a French definition of the difference between mere politeness, and tact, which is far better:

    A theatre writer opens the door to a dressing room and sees an actress in a state of undress. He quickly closes the door, saying, "I'm sorry, mademoiselle."

    This is merely polite. If he had been tactful, he would have said: "Excuse me, monsieur."

    actually as Iranian who knows Iranian culture very well, I don't think it is true... our contact is a formal academic application, it is not private. and in Iran the tactful behavior is simply addressing as "Miss surname", and no wife would object it!

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    #10

    Re: question a bout mentioning sex

    Oh, well that is good. But I know that when a man knocks on the door of a house, he has to look down in case it is a woman or girl who answers.

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