“The hyper-independent woman is the most likely to be single, unhappy, unmarried, and lonely. Why do we ignore this very true fact in our community?”
Um, maybe because it’s not true?
Every 3-5 business days, tweets like the above spin through our timelines with their 5-part long threads and plunge the Twitterverse into a black hole of endless debates. While the actual content of the tweets may differ, they all give the same alarmist tone as a means to draw attention to one of the most significantly growing threats to our society: happy, single women.
By all accounts, women who are single are lonely, unhappy, bitter and *insert whatever negative adjective you can describe*. Happy? Not a chance. Because the patriarchy has done a fantastic job of telling women that their happiness relies on romantic partnerships and that a truly fulfilling life involves men, it’s difficult for people to imagine a world where women are truly happy being by themselves.
We don’t have to look far to understand why.
In our society, a woman’s value traditionally comes from her ability to keep a man happy and in a constant state of domestic bliss. This ability is not seen as a choice but as a result of the natural feminine desire to nurture. For example, it’s “natural” for a woman to want to cook and clean because she wants to take care of those around her by any means necessary. She’s fulfilling her feminine duty and any woman who refuses to partake in this charade (because that’s what it is atp) is unnatural/strange/dubious and needs to be weeded out so they don’t upset the natural order of things.
It’s why tweets like these are so common. They serve as constant reminders of the consequences of straying too far from your nature. The single lonely woman is one who is unhappy because she failed to comply. Her hyper-independence got the best of her and she’s a living example of what you’re not meant to do.
When the only two options for a woman’s fulfilment – raising children and getting married – involve some sort of life-long duty to others over yourself, choosing to be single is pretty much one of the most selfish things you can do. Selfishness, as it relates to women, is a word we throw around so casually when women make decisions for themselves. Don’t want a relationship? Selfish. Don’t want kids? Selfish? You want to do __ for yourself? Selfish.
A woman simply making a choice, is seen as this radical thing that’s triggering enough to send arms flailing in alarm because our society has done a pretty good job at curbing our right to choose. Happy, single women are threatening because not only do they make a choice, it’s a choice that doesn’t centre men and misogynists can’t wrap their minds around a world that doesn’t place men on a golden pedestal.
While we’re happy to see more women speak more about the need to deprioritize the role men play in women’s lives, there’s still a lot more to be done. Joy, fulfilment and happiness come in many forms and there’s no one-size fits all model. Quite frankly, we all need to get a grip and understand that a woman’s agency to choose, whatever path she may find herself on, is hers to make. Threatening women with singleness, which, might I add is becoming increasingly appealing, isn’t the flex we think it is.