Why men need to ditch the ‘Mr’ to create a truly inclusive world – #NoMoreMrNiceGuy

It’s National Inclusion Week 2021 and we are launching a new campaign at Title Free Towers especially for the occasion.

#NoMoreMrNiceGuy is our call to action, for all men to challenge the use of the title ‘Mr’, whenever it’s used in reference to them.

We’re asking this because those with privilege have a responsibility to accept it’s existence, and to use that privilege to challenge bias against those who don’t have it.

‘Miss’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’ and ‘Mx’ create assumptions and allow judgement about marriage, marital status, age and sexuality in a way that the simple title of ‘Mr’ does not.

Throughout National Inclusion Week we’ve seen some fantastic initiatives which support initiatives for each of the nine protected characteristics. We’ve heard inclusion experts talk about:

  • Being ‘anti-racist’, instead of ‘not racist’ – which is the adoption of an active zero tolerance approach, a less passive plan to tackling racism, and an openness to learning.
  • The fact that individual cases of minority groups in power do not mean that institutional and structural inequalities don’t exist.
  • How, when creating inclusive workplaces for those with disabilities, taking an ‘inclusion by design’ approach means that a person affected by bias does not have to ask for special consideration.
  • How inaction on recognition of the gender non-binary is actually an action…against change and progression towards an inclusive society.
  • How Active Bystander training teaches us that the onus to call out microaggessions and microincivilities sits with all of us. Not just with the person at the receiving end of the bias.

All of the above examples teach us how dominant groups can amplify the messages we need much more so than the groups which are directly affected by bias.

Being ‘non-biased’ is too passive, and is not enough to make the gargantuan changes we still need to see.

The difference of being active against bias is the action taken, and the acceptance of privilege as a dominant group. Cis men who’ve used the uncomplicated title of ‘Mr’, now need to rise up against the use of it in support of those for whom titles are extremely problematic.

When women ask for this change from a company, they’re given ‘Ms’ and sometimes ‘Mx’ as an alternative. What peace offerings can a man be offered when he requests to have his marital status title removed?

(‘Doctor’ probably…)

#NoMoreMrNiceGuy calls upon men to:

  • Challenge companies who ask you for a marital status title. (Ask ‘why do you need that information? What will you do with that information? Can I please be just ‘first name / surname?’)
  • Challenge the organisation you work for on their drop-down boxes, data capture and usage systems.
  • Challenge Doctors surgeries, schools, councils, charities and companies asking for your children’s details on the usage of marital status titles. (Why should children have titles relating to marriage, gender and age?)
  • Share news about the challenges you face when asking for ‘no title’, and publicly call out the companies who cannot accommodate the changes you ask for.

Gender bias is as damaging as any other sort of bias, and the existence of titles means that many women are unfairly expected to explain their situation in relation to their father or partner, and that people who don’t wish to associate with a gender are forced to be inauthentic.

National Inclusion Week has the fantastic theme this year of United for Inclusion.

It’s a theme which demands positive action from every person to create a more inclusive world.





Stella Sutcliffe

Photo courtesy of CanStockPhoto.com

1 reply
  1. Chris Amies
    Chris Amies says:

    I just don’t like using titles (unless they’re earned, like ‘Dr’). I’ve long pushed back against using the title ‘Mr’ not (just) because I’m an ally of those who don’t want to use Miss/Mrs/Ms, but because I simply object. I’ve had people filling in forms say “You’re a ‘Mr'” to which I reply, “Am I? Why?” I’ll leave the title field blank on forms and then find it’s been filled in as ‘Mr.’ Online forms that require a title … why?
    Technically I’m a Reverend, which gives me some leeway but I don’t really like using that as it implies I have a congregation (which I don’t).
    It’s good to see someone organising around this point which I have felt strongly about for years.


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