BOOK CLUB: Does society view 30-something single woman as a bad thing?

on Apr 26, 2009 @ 05:36 pm

Chickadvisor members, Merri and Elizamv, brought up some interesting suggestions that led me to another discussion question:

Do you think the portrayal of Kate depicts our current social lifestyle? Do you think society views 30-something single women as a bad thing?

I've been seeing more and more women getting married later in life (or some not at all). I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing, but it wouldn't be healthy to be desperate and constantly worried like Kate either. Even in small towns, I think society is slowly embracing the fact women doesn't have to "get their life together" at an early age.


10 Replies

YESSSSS everestwater123.... on Apr 26, 2009 @ 08:45 pm

i got married in my 30's....and it was the best thing i ever did (waiting). i had plenty of time to travel, meet a ton of people and just figure myself out! although i get some raised eyebrows from the older generation (one of my co-workers in particular who is nearing 50 years old-she actually told me that i 'missed my chance at motherhood'), i don't regret it!

p.s. most people i know put on a good front.....but i have seen a LOT of 30, 40, and 50 somethings falling apart....society has changed!

I hope not!! on Apr 26, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

I am almost 30 and single. I don't see a wedding in my near future and I'm fine with that!! I have seen friends get married and then divorced. I have seen friends get married because "...she will do..."! I have seen couples that should not be together, stay together because they seem to think they "have to"! I want to get married because I KNOW he is the man I should be with! Not because society says I should be married by now and having babies! I like my life! I like dating (for the most part). I like being independant and able to take care of myself! I know I will like being married and in love with my husband... but that's not the point I'm at in my life and I'm in no hurry!

I found the book sort of perpetuated the idea that woman should be married before their early thirties. Kelly was married and Kate wanted to be! (and soon was). Kate never really seemed to realize that she was okay being alone, enjoying life and liking who she was! Her realization was that she loved Mark. She seemed to think that she needed a man to complete her and she eventually found that in Mark. But what the book didn't seem to point out is that she didn't really need a man at all. She was successful, beautiful, smart and talented.

no matter how much i hate it .... isn't that realistic? on Apr 27, 2009 @ 12:09 am

how many women realize their own potential? that they're successful, beautiful, smart and talented? not many! in fact even those of us who do still *want* a guy to share our life with. I know guys who are perfectly happy (seemingly happy i should say...) to go through their life single, but i don't know any woman who's like that at all. I guess its not politically correct that we want a man to complete us, but... if we realized our own potential, then there wouldn't be so many self help books for women out there :-)

i think society still views an unmarried woman in her 30's to be "not settled". I'm in my early 20s (ok i'm technically "mid twenties" but i'm still in denial!!) and I'm completely single, and trust me I hear about it often. I'm not getting any younger, all my friends have gotten married and I'm going to end up old and alone, etc.

i want to find my own mr. right, and i am petrified of settling ... however, I'd love if my single status wasn't shoved in my face every chance :-/

there's a woman in our company who I consider to be one of the best "all rounder" individuals i know. she is very competent at her job, she is very approachable, smart, friendly, professional, knows what she's doing, etc She is single, and because of that there are certain people that think (and are going around telling others) that she's a lesbian. I'm not saying that there is or isn't anything wrong w/being gay - live and let live in my opinion. But, as far as I know she's not gay, I have gay friends and she just doesn't come across as that at all!! However, just because she's over 30, and single, to them she's gay... sigh!!! listening to these people you'd think we're living in the 1930's or something!

hhmm on Apr 27, 2009 @ 11:41 am

It is for sure more accepted for ladies to be single into their 30's nowadays - it used to be anything past 21 and you were doomed to be a spinster! But for sure there is still some pressure, if not from outsiders then from within ourselves. We all want someone to share our life with, and life really starts going when you hit your mid 20's - you know who you are, have probably finished school and have a job, and know what you want from yourself and a life partner. There are steps you take in life, and once you hit the job market, the next step is to find someone to share it all with. Especially if you are like me, having moved away from family and friends, and needing new people to share things with in another country/cit etc.

I think most of the pressure comes from the friends and family members who have just gotten married. Many can't see beyond their own situation, and assume everyone else must want the married life with kids story. I know, because my sister has recently gotten married, and now half my friends and school chums are following suit, and they all feel i should be too. They don't realize I don't necessarily want everything they have. I have someone to share my life with and that's good enough for me. Like a tamed down Sol ;) I think we women do it to each other and ourselves. We see our friends getting married and having fun on their wedding day, and we feel left out. Then we pressure ourselves so we can fit in with our friends again. And our friends and family want us to be happy and equate that with marriage. For some it might be, but more and more there are couples who do not feel the need to tie the knot.

I think it is normal that people are waiting longer to find a mate and tie the knot. Birth control makes it so we can have all the privileges of marriage without the actual event, which allows women to pursue whatever level of education she wants, and also test the waters to find exactly what she wants. There is not as much rushing into things as before. At least in big cities.

I say Brava to women who wait until they are sure! if the shoes doesn't fit and isn't comfortable, don't wear it! There will always be someone out there waiting and looking.

Agreed on Apr 27, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

I absolutely agree with nessie! I think a lot of the pressure about getting married comes from ourselves, not from others. Kate for example was deeply dissatisfied with being single -- she felt she needed a man to complete her. She even believed that anyone who had what she so deeply wanted had a perfect life, as if the problems end there. I am glad that Kelly's perspective helped to quash this notion -- in the end she showed Kate that your life isn't necessarily perfect just because you're married with children. Maybe you have solved one of life's big puzzles, but there is certainly another mountain to climb post honeymoon.

I also whole heartedly agree with patricia. I think this book did perpetuate the idea that women should be married before their 30s. I mean obviously Kate's character was flawed for believing this, but patricia is right, she didn't realize what was wrong with believing that. She didn't find satisfaction with being the amazing person she is. The only thing she realized was that her superficiality (judging names, hair cuts and home decor etc as reasons not to be with a man) that was narrowing her horizons. In the end her epiphany led her to realize that she had overlooked a great guy (Mark Dicks) for superficial reasons, and she realized that she loved him. I did not like this ending --she did not realize that she would have been happy without a man because she was a great person all on her own. I mean, that ending would have been terribly cliché, and we all probably would have rolled our eyes if after an entire 300 pages of desperately chasing guys Kate suddenly realizes that she's ok without a man after all. But still I think that would have sent a far better message than stop being superficial and you will end up with Mr.. Right. There is more to life that that.

30 something on Apr 29, 2009 @ 07:51 am

I think that as a whole our society is on the brink of embracing the 30something brides. I think the idea of marrying earlier rather than later comes from a sense of doing our duty as women-- bearing children! Now, medical advances are leading us away from being dependent upon being young in order to conceive safely healthily, and so with yet another roadblock down I think the average age for first time moms will gradually increase. Now, no one of course wants to be 80 and still have a kid in diapers, but a subtle shift is definitely on the horizon.

I have an odd feeling that the authors ah..chickened out, just a bit, toward the end. Kate was truly close to realizing that having a "perfect life" didn't necessarily include a man, and that those who did weren't necessarily perfect. I feel as though as the pages accumulated, they suddenly realized that oh crap, we need to end this, and didn't take the time for Kate to turn around her attitude and TRULY get to know Mark. That's a pretty harsh judgement, I know, and maybe it's colored by my smaller town sensibilities, so no one yap my ear off, please! Really, though, would any of you jump into a relationship by saying the L word so early? Alarm bells for me.

... on Apr 29, 2009 @ 09:42 pm

Kate thinks of herself as the the modern single woman - successful and
looking for love. I like when someone is headstrong and knows what she
wants. All power to then, but in Kate's case, I can't help but pity her
reckless behaviour. She's obviously screwed up. Plus girl has has to
deal with social pressure to get married, but sadly..she really doesn't
understand the concept of marriage.

When it comes to marriage, age was and to some extend still is an
issue. Its now becoming more accepting to get married later on in life,
but I think it all comes down to when and if you are ready to spend
your life with someone. Personally, I would like to see myself getting
married sooner than later. That doesn't mean I'm mature
enough..hopefully it won't be past 30! I want to have kids and I have
some goals I've set for myself.

Going back to Kate...I particularly agree with elizamv's last paragraph..I still don't think Kate understands the concept of marriage. I think
in Kate's case, she was looking at "love" at all the wrong places. That
JACK-ass of a boyfriend (pun intended), Tim Fortune, etc. I'm being a
little cynical here, but had the story continued on..Kate would be back
to her party-girl self again. This is protentially leading up to another discussion topic!


serendipity on Apr 29, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

I agree with everyone who said that they authors might've rushed the ending and didn't give Kate the "ending" we think she should have.

However, maybe this is the ending the authors did intended for Kate. Remember the reason she thought Jack was "The One" because of the circumstances in which they met and became a couple. (I don't even remember what the story was there.) Kate saw Jack as her Prince, her Knight in Shining Armour, like in a fairy tale. Perhaps the authors intended Mark to be this Prince, the one Kate has been waiting for all along, the one who sees from the get-go that Kate carries herself like a princess. And the perfect match for Kate would have to be someone who falls madly in love with her for absolutely no sane reason at all.

Anyway, back to the original question: I don't think it's just woman who are pressured to be married before they are 30. Guys are too but I just don't think they talk about it as much. I know some women would wonder about a guy in his 30s, no girlfriend, no marriage plans in near future, etc...their first thought would be, "What is wrong with this man?" So if women think that, of course guys would think that too.

Think about it, if you are a guy and all your buddies are married with kids, wouldn't you feel left out when invited to family gatherings, watching your friends enjoying their lives with their family? I think the difference between 30-somthing men and women is that men just don't care or pretend they don't care or they just don't talk it, but that doesn't mean the pressure isn't on men as well.

Double Standard on May 01, 2009 @ 09:21 am

I think bubblybunny brings up a great point. Marriage age seems to be a double standard for men and women. If a woman is single into her 30s and later, it is often viewed negatively ... as if she is doomed to be a lonely cat lady. Where as a man can be single into his 50s even and be congratulated for it (George Clooney anyone?) It is a horrible double standard.

yes there is pressure but you dont have to give in on May 03, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

my younger sister got married a few months ago. she's started sending me craigslist personal ads now because she wants me to be happy and settled with kids. lol. so funny! she eloped and then we had a wedding party after, so my father never got to give away the bride and now he cant wait for me to marry. my mother has always wanted me to be with someone. my brother just doesnt care, and my friends have given up on me lol. i did feel kind of bittersweet sad being at beth's wedding reception... i was really happy for her but thinking i probably wont have one. but other than the whole ritual of the wedding, which i've always wanted, i dont really see myself marrying and i'm ok with that usually, even though i'm now 30! so others will pressure you but its all up to how you feel inside. if you let them pressure you or just laugh it off.

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