The nonacceptance of women who are single by choice, especially
child-free ones, is more insidious than even I thought. I have been
single all my life and don't read "women's relationship" books much any
more, but read this one because it challenges the soul-mate ideal and
the cultural "lesser-ness" of being an uncoupled person. And I thought I
was pretty free of it! You almost can't be, in this culture.
The author interviewed women with children and without, divorced and never-married,
heterosexual and lesbian women. In her book "The New Single Woman", E.
Kay Trimberger cites a study of divorced women by E. Mavis Hetherington,
which calls remarried women with positive lives "enhancers", and calls
the women with positive lives who remain single after divorce "competent
loners". See how insidious this is? Why are not the single women called
The very choice of language tells us that we cannot enhance
our lives if we are single. If someone were to tell you that outright,
you might think to challenge it, but when assumptions and prejudice are
woven into the very words, you can live your whole life unaware of the
Of course, there are also the *spoken*
assumptions. I have had men call me a lesbian because I was single or
uninterested in them. It was said with hostility, meant as an insult to
me (which also makes it an insult to lesbians). I have read many
comments considering single or child-free people as self-centered, but
Trimberger posits that single people are *more* involved in the
community, activities and causes. It makes sense to me that married
people would tend to cocoon, and withdraw even further into their own
lives - the very definition of becoming self-centered! - when they have
children. But this is the opposite of popular opinion of single women.
This new insight into how even I've been brainwashed makes me puke. And
here's a thought for you, women: if we're ever really secure and
unbrainwashed, we won't even need an Anti-Valentine's Day!