Something bugs me about online petitions..

There was a time, when online petitions were ignored. People thought the names were fake. Corporations and politicians paid no attention.

Today, as more people worldwide join online culture, their voices are being heard. Online petitions are one tool to apply pressure to governments and industries, and help spread awareness about countless issues. I’ve seen a video of my own senator using a stack of online signatures, to help argue a point on the Senate floor. People in power know that ignoring public outcry can lead to protests, boycotts, strikes, being voted out of office, criminal charges, and in rare cases, even revolution.

But there is one antiquated convention, required by almost every online petition I’ve ever signed–a title. You must select Mr, Ms, Mrs, Miss, or Dr from a list, or your signature will not be submitted.

Why do many online petitions require a title? I don’t think it should even be on the form, let alone required. Is a doctor’s opinion more important than mine? But, mostly, I assume they do it as an acceptable way to ask for your gender.

If put “Ms.” I feel like I’m saying, “Hey, Republicans, don’t pay any attention because I will never vote for you anyway!” So that leaves me with the option of “Miss” or “Mrs.” They’re pushing me to tell my marital status, as well. I don’t like this little game with titles, forcing me to cough up information men don’t have to include. I sign a lot of online petitions, and this bothers me every time.

You may be thinking, “No one reads it, anyway.” But that field doesn’t have to be required, it doesn’t even have to be on the form. They must be running demographics on it, otherwise it wouldn’t be there.

I wish they would quit trying to slip this misogynistic practice under the radar. If you’re going to ask, just include check boxes for gender and marital status, for everyone. Don’t require me to include a title.

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