06/19/2014 05:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Implications Of Using 'Señora' Versus 'Señorita'

Thinking twice about using "señora" or "señorita"? That's probably a good thing, because the implications behind the two can be quite suggestive.

Sasha Cagen is the author of a recent article that addresses using Spanish courtesy titles. She told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani a story about when she was in a business situation with a man who asked her, “Señora or señorita?”

“Señorita could mean I’m not a virgin anymore, so are you asking me about my sexual experience or are you asking me if I’m married?" Cagen said of her reaction to the question. "What is this about, and why am I being asked this in a business transaction?"

She said there are gender issues that come into play when using courtesy titles.

"There’s actually really deep issues that go below this where we could say, 'Oh, why are you getting so worked up about this?' But it actually says something really profound about the way we see women and men. Women just want to be women, we don’t want to be categorized,” she said.

Watch the full conversation about how to speak with women:



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