Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Fairy Tale Ending April 16, 2010

Continuing our topic of stereotypes, I came across this Salon article by Tracy Clark-Flory, about the pressure on single women to marry and settle down. She says:

… a new study has found that the “spinster” stigma is still alive and thriving — and it’s worst for women in their mid-20s to mid-30s. After reaching the age of 25, LiveScience explains, women begin to feel “scrutinized by friends, family members and others” — including themselves, of course — “for their singlehood.”

Ah yes, the old “When are you going to settle down?” question. Stick around all you 20- to 30- year olds, because not far behind that one is, “When are you going to have kids?” As Clark-Flory goes on to point out:

Decades later, that warning [that being too picky will lead to a life of spinsterhood] has been passed along fully intact and internalized even by supposedly enlightened young feminists like myself. It just goes to show how cunning and insidious that prince charming, fairy-tale ending is.

And the same goes for having children. While many women do think it through, weigh the pros and cons, and make the decision to have or to not have children, many more feel the pressure from society, family, peers, and just follow along with what’s expected of them, and some of them discover that the fairytale isn’t really what they wanted after all.

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One Response to “The Fairy Tale Ending”

  1. Therese Says:

    I’m not even comfortable with the marriage push. My husband and I had a simple civil ceremony in our apartment and people made a huge deal out of it and hounded us about why we weren’t having a “real” wedding. Even if you do something conventional in and of itself, there is a certain way you are supposed to do it and if you deviate from that in any way, you are punished.

    As for the kid thing, people who really know my husband and I aren’t holding their breath. And we just accept the fact that we will not be seeing friends that have kids as often or ever, really. We are noticing a disturbing trend of people carting their spouse and their kids EVERYWHERE. Does everything have to be “family time” nowadays? You can’t go out by yourself anymore? We are so obsessed with “family” in this culture. They have discovered in studies that people actually spend MORE time with their kids than they did in the 1950s. My husband has even stopped going to ball games with a dear friend of his because this friend always brings his girlfriend AND their kids to every game. My husband and I are the kind of people that do as many things separately as we do together. The idea of doing everything together is completely foreign to us.

    If “settling down” means becoming a boring drone who can’t go anywhere without the husband and kids, then I don’t ever plan on “settling down”.


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