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 Topic     Woman at sea
    Title Author          Date & Time 
         Woman onboard Strange! 27 May 2006 16:27
           Re: Woman onboard Renlynn.K 3 Jul 2006 15:49
                Re: Re: Woman onboard retiree 29 Sep 2006 00:20
                     Re: Re: Re: Woman onboard weebee 10 Oct 2006 03:57
         Shipmistress. Capt. Robert 14 Oct 2006 20:40
           Re: Shipmistress. JEHANNE 14 Dec 2007 19:32

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Title:     Woman onboard
Author: Strange! Posted on: 27 May 2006 16:27
 Click here to contact the author Posting ID #458
Did anyone hear about female Master. In this case what do we refer her as? Master or Mistress? In there any ship in the world guided by a female?

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Title:     Re: Woman onboard
Author: Renlynn.K Posted on: 3 Jul 2006 15:49
 Click here to contact the author Posting ID #463
Yes, there's such thing as a female Master. In fact, there are many female Master out there. The word 'Master' is just a tittle given to the person who is holding the Master ticket. It is similiar to someone getting a 'Masters in Science', etc,. You don't say that she has a 'Mistress in Science', do you??

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Title:     Re: Re: Woman onboard
Author: retiree Posted on: 29 Sep 2006 00:20
 Click here to contact the author Posting ID #498
agree totally, since the person in discussion is a former female cadet of mine. she's right, there are female captains of the sea out there and there are only a rare breed here in singapore. well renlyn, hope you become a master soon.

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Title:     Re: Re: Re: Woman onboard
Author: weebee Posted on: 10 Oct 2006 03:57
 Click here to contact the author Posting ID #502
Hey! Here in Argentina, there´s a girl of about 30 y-o who is a female master! And she´s been interviewed because she is travelling to the Antartica with a whole ship at her charge. ps: sorry for syntax o other kind of mistakes....

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Title:     Shipmistress.
Author: Capt. Robert Posted on: 14 Oct 2006 20:40
 Click here to contact the author Posting ID #504
In the English language, there are a number of words where the masculine gender is taken to be representative of both genders. For example if you say "a man" you can only be referring to a male person, but you can also use the word "man" or "mankind" to mean all
people, irrespective of gender. But at the same time, if you refer to "womenkind" it can only refers to females. It can get very confusing sometimes for people with limited English.

The word "master" has a number of meanings in the English language, some of which can only apply to a man, and some of which can apply equally to a man or a woman.

For example the word "to master" can be used in English to mean to gain control of something, to dominate something of someone, or to gain overall proficiency in a craft, trade, profession, etc. The equivalent feminine expression "to mistress" does not exist in the language. But while you can only "master" a trade, profession or field of learning (you can not "mistress" it), nevertheless a man or woman who has mastered such a trade will either be said to be a Master or a Mistress of that trade, depending on his or her gender.

Another meaning of "master" can be the male head of a houshold or establishment. In that sense, a feminine equivalent, "mistress", does exist, and is generally used for a woman in that position.

However, a number of professional titles use the word "master" in one of these two senses, e.g. Master of Science, Master Mariner, Master of Court, etc. Some of these titles were established, either by law or by common practice, before there were women in these professions, so the titles often have no feminine equivalent. So the masculine title is used by either sex. Either a man or a woman can be referred to as a Master of Science, because the feminine equivalent, Mistress of Science, does not exist.

In the case of shipping law, when the British Merchant Shipping Acts (which were the fore-runner of similar shipping legislation in other countries) were enacted in the late 19th century, there where no lady captains, and it probably did not occur to the people who framed the legislation that there ever would be, so the term "Master" was applied in law to the person legally in charge of a vessel.

If, therefore, a woman is qualified to command a ship, she is a "master mariner", because she has mastered the art and science of commanding a ship, and holds a Master's Certificate (or License).

If she is appointed to command a vessel,
then as far as to law is concerned, she becomes the "master" of that vessel.

Logically and grammatically, whether it would be correct to call her the "master" or the "mistress" of a certain ship would depend on in which sense the she is considered the Master/Mistress of the vessel, but that is splitting hairs. In normal parlance, it would be acceptable to call her either, although ususally Master would be more correct. But legally she would always be "master" of that vessel.

Of course, nothing is static in the world of language. If enough people want change, change will come about. And if enough people use a word wrongly, the wrong meaning or usage becomes the "right" one, and the original meaning or usage may become obsolete or redundant, or come to mean something else.

There are plenty of feminists around who would like to see the law changed to eradicate male titles applied to women. Just as there are some journalists today who are trying to change the English language by calling a ship "it" instead of "she"


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Title:     Re: Shipmistress.
Author: JEHANNE Posted on: 14 Dec 2007 19:32
 Click here to contact the author Posting ID #572
Dear Captain,
I have read with much interest your reply. I am impressed!
Thanks for your clear explanations- I am a woman and if I was the "master" of a ship, I would not like to be called "mistress".
To me, this refers to sexual or slave practices - or school..
I was so surprised to hear my son saying "mistress". for a sceond, I was wondering who he was talking about..