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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Spinsters and bachelors: Two of a kind

In an attempt to study the expanding demographic of single women 30 years of age and beyond, a Univeristy of Missouri researcher examined the familial and societal messages projected on such women, exposing the sexist and ignorant double standards of society today. Though the dynamics of the traditional family have been slightly altered in recent years, society’s stress on women to tie the restricting knot of marriage and bear the weight of reproduction by 30 continues.

In the recent study entitled “”I’m a Loser, I’m Not Married, Let’s Just All Look at Me,”” co-chair of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Environment Sciences Larry Ganong and associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University Elizabeth Sharp, conducted 32 interviews with middle-class, never-married women.

According to their research, the interviewed women felt singled out and left out simultaneously. At times, such as bouquet tosses at weddings, the women experienced a heightened sense of visibility due to their age and single status. Yet, when others automatically categorize them as married with children or require an explanation for their single status, the women feel invisible as their personalities and successes outside of the field of relationships are dragged into the background. 

But even the restricted focus on women in this study, along with much of the current media, encourages the misleading gender-centered stereotypes of today. Loneliness is not a symptom constrained to the female gender, nor is it necessarily characteristic of anyone with an XX chromosome over the age of 30. When women pass a certain age, sometimes as early as 30, the unadorned ring finger indicates a spinster, alone and unwanted. Meanwhile, her male counterpart is considered a bachelor, eligible and even cool. 

But women, and men for that matter, are fully capable of being successful and happy people despite their free finger. Who you’re with, if anyone, shouldn’t be indicative of or overshadow the person you are and the other facets of your life.

Think of great women in history — Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Margaret Thatcher, Harriet Tubman. Now think of their relationship statuses. These women did great thing worth remembering. If your teachers were successful, these names will forever be burned in your memory as women who saved lives, paved paths for themselves and others, and opened doors that had never been opened or even seen. On the other hand, whether they were married, divorced or single will likely slip your mind.

While there is surely much to be said for having loving relationships with others, finding love in alternate facets of life has its values as well. This is not a matter of advocating either. To each their own. This is merely a plea to avoid assumptions, dispose of judgments, live and let live.

—Rachel Leavitt is a creative writing sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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