I know exactly the attitude you are talking about, and it pisses me off. I tried to write something about it and it just wasn't articulate. I guess as a lawyer, woman, feminist, wife, homeowner, activist, etc. I chafe at the attitude that I can't be everything I've wanted to be since I was a child. There are enough realities in this world that will keep me from becoming Wonder Woman/Maya Angelou/King of the World - - I don't need the crap created by "women's magazines" to keep me down, too. Don't assume that a successful woman had to sacrifice love, children and contentment to get where she is. Work hard to get what you want and work even harder to get what you need to make your life a success.


But, Michael Corleone had been married.

There are stigmas attached to the unmarried man. People often assume that the "confirmed bachelor" is gay, regardless of his orientation. If a man reaches 40 and is not married (or involved in a serious relationship), there are questions asked.

When in Africa, I was asked, after it was learned that I was unmarried, whether I was afraid of dying alone. The question is not limited to women.

The Happy Feminist

I think both sexes suffer a stigma (whether it's equal or not is another question) but in the case of women: (1) career success is seen as a threat to her prospects of marriage and (2) career success does nothing to lessen the stigma of singlehood.

I've spent quite a bit of time in Africa myself (east and west). What about you, chipmunk? Where in Africa? Do they even have chipmunks in Africa?


I don`t know, if men or women want to worry about ending up alone with their cats, let `em. I have friends who are happily single and friends who are unhappily single -- ditto for my married friends. Some people I know are going broke doing IVF to have kids, eithers live in terror of getting pregnant. We all want different things in life, and have totally different expectations and fears -- some of them are innate, some are imposed by society, but in the end, we are what we are, and what we make of ourselves.

When someone says, "Of course, I don't wanna wind up dying alone with my cats," I realize they`re talking about themselves more than they are about anyone else.

And there`s no guarantees, no matter what you do. I have 3 children, but who knows, I could end up outliving them, or living far away from them, and dying alone. (I`m allergic to cats, and dogs. I will have to settle for being a crazy old lady with lots of goldfish.)


Lots of people don't make it to old age and end up dying in hospital of cancer and stuff. Fearing the aged death alone with cats is betting on a future that may not happen.


I think you bring up a good point about embracing those things that are in our control. I find that I have to really work on enjoying those things I can and being more comfortable with the things I can't.

Somewhat off topic, but when you said "single workaholic and proud of it" it got me thinking about how much we value in North America this ideal of working like crazy (and yes, still more socially acceptable for men) and how little value we place on leisure pursuits. I have a male friend who holds down a job but is uninterested in making loads of money. Instead he would rather spend more of his time doing art, hiking etc etc, but is then labelled by many as "lazy." If it was a woman, she likely wouldn't get the same label. Ah, to have an equal society!


She is most unlikely to die alone with her cats. She'll die honoured and much mourned by friends of all generations.

Scott Lemieux

Yeah, I think so many bad choices are based on this fear; indeed, not only the fear of dying alone with your cats, but the fear of living alone at a given time. And that definitely affects women more, too.

None of that means that you shouldn't send some of those single lawyers down to NYC, of course. ;)

The Happy Feminist

Scott, you should have no worries. The proposals are going to be rolling in once people start reading your post on why you're a feminist!


hi. i came hopping to this blog, and just wanted to tell you i really liked this post!
especially in india, there is this HUGE pressure on women to get married. once you hit your early 20s, if you're not yearning for marriage or "hooked up" with someone, you're inevitably subjected to lectures from well-meaning relatives. we speak of "marrying before it's too late" as if women hit some expiry date and are fit for nothing after 25 if they're still single. it's freaky if they actually like it that way!
fortunately the trend is changing marginally now as more women have started working, but it will take much time before the deep conditioning from all sides is overcome.
anyway, that was nice writing! :)



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