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March 25, 2010

Spinster stigma alive and well

Filed under: books,issues,pop culture,Psychology — posted by Mia @ 3:49 pm

Single women are still feeling the “stigma” of spinsterhood, a new study of middle class, never married, women over the age of 30 has found. In fact, single women between the ages of 25 and 35 reported feeling both highly visible in certain social situations — like, God help us all, bouquet tosses at weddings — and highly invisible when it came to social status, in almost every situation from consideration by political representatives to expectations in office environments.

Despite the fact that 40% of all adults in The United States were single in 2009, it is women who often feel pressure to explain or justify their single status.

Pandagon goes into more detail about the humiliating catch-22 of the bouquet toss,and also explores the potentially harmful situations the pressure to be married can foster. That is: “men can make higher demands on women in exchange for their validation of women. Sometimes a woman’s devalued position in a relationship merely means she does most of the housework and emotional work, and her sexual satisfaction is a secondary concern. But in the worst case scenarios, culturally created female desperation can be used as leverage by domestic abusers to keep their victims in place.”

A new book by social scientist Bella DePaulo, PhD, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After
addresses all these issues and more. (The  fabulous bullet list she includes in her post about the book had me yelling, “sing it, sister!” at my computer screen.)

And here’s another antidote for all the single ladies, all the single ladies — and anybody who loves a great self-published comic: the amazingly funny and philosophic story, “My Every Single Thought” by Corinne Mucha. This comic chronicles the author’s attempt to get over an old relationship, and come to terms with a — yes — saucy new label: Single.

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