Owning up to being “single”

“Spinster” “Old Maid” “Oh you are single? Poor you!” These attitudes towards singles are not new to women who hear all the time that finding someone to marry  to start a family with should be her number one concern. Most girls and women I know have felt that wanting a successful career or getting a PhD never seems like enough to society unless you are married or in a serious relationship. Think about it, a huge part of our culture is centered on romance and either how to keep it or how to find it. All the women’s magazines are filled with articles and quizzes about “how to tell if he likes you” or “how to please your man.”  (Note that most women’s magazines neglect the large population of women who aren’t heterosexual and who would not find “what spots drive men crazy” helpful.)

Aside from the magazines, our culture feeds us this ideal of what women should be aiming for:  the husband, the house, and the 2.5 kids. We see this in TV shows where women are either looking for Mr. Right or dealing with a boyfriend who won’t commit, or portraying “desperate” women; not to mention the barrage of reality shows where women and men compete for love – The Bachelor anyone? And the movies? Just go to any “romantic comedy” movie and you will see the same few storylines over and over.   You’ll find the stubborn, independent woman who just needs the love of a good man; the girl next door with all her sweetness whom the male protagonist didn’t realize he was in love with; or my personal favorite, the witty, sarcastic, semi-man hating best friend who really deep down inside is just heartbroken — nothing that the right guy can’t fix. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie, let alone a “chick flick”, that had a strong, independent, woman who  found happiness and fulfillment without the man and the kids.  And where is the movie about the woman who actually thrived after getting dumped (without some new amazing guy to show her the light).  And then something I am not sure I have ever seen in a mainstream film is a beautiful, non-man hating, feminine lesbian, who is the heroine and not just a character to add “diversity”.

It’s not just the movies, TV, or magazines that we see this obsession with finding someone to complete you, but it is on your nearest bookstore shelves.  They are filled with all those helpful books on why you can’t find a man or what is wrong with you or the classic “how to catch a husband” books.

A recent article at msnbc.com, discussed how single women in their late twenties and early thirties are still feeling stigmatized because of their unmarried status. The article said that these women especially felt the stigma when it came time for the bride to toss the bouquet at a wedding or when they realized that as they got older their “pool of eligible men” was dwindling. After reading this article I was confused.  should I be appalled that people still think like this or sad because I wish that we celebrated being single, instead of looking at it like a sad condition in need of being remedied?

I think the main reason that I am aware of this pressure and stigma that is associated with “singledom,” is because I don’t have any major goals for getting a husband, settling down, and producing children. In fact, I think I would be quite content (if not genuinely happy) without the suburban house, the 2.5 kids and the SUV to cart around said kids. Not that there is anything wrong with this choice.  But I know it’s not for me. Still, after reading about and watching all of this “single stigma” and the sadness that apparently comes with being single, I feel like a social defect because I don’t aim for the traditional family and home life.

Some may argue that this issue isn’t all that prevalent, but we live in a world where women and young girls are given conflicting messages. We have all these choices now and we can supposedly be whatever and whoever we want.  But some of those choices will carry not-so-nice labels with them, such as “spinster.”  And with all the media images out there showing every stereotype under the sun, you have to wonder when will our media catch up with the different age of womanhood and perhaps redefine what a woman who has it all really looks like?

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One Comment

  1. Matt Mathis
    Posted March 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    bravo! Well said.

One Trackback

  1. By warehouse1310.com on May 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    The Best Thing of Being Single!…

    What is the best thing of being single? Yes, it is the privileged to do anything without requiring anybody’s consideration. You can go anywhere without you need to think whether other party will like it or not. You will never need to think about where …

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