Why are we still shaming women for being single?
It has come to my attention recently how often I am questioned about not being in a relationship and not actively seeking companionship. This got me thinking, why is it so deeply rooted in society that we must strive for partnership?
I walked into a local store that I regularly visit recently where I have gotten to know the staff over the last few years and was greeted by one of the staff members as per usual “How are you Soph?”. I responded being my usual bubbly self, “I am great thank you!” to which I was then asked “Oh wow, you must have met someone?!”. I stopped for a moment baffled at that statement and said “No, my happiness isn’t defined by whether I have met someone or not”. I realised this may have come across as blunt or abrupt but the more I thought about it, the more it annoyed me that the first thing to come to this persons mind when I told them I was doing well was that I must be doing well because I am no longer single.
Fast forward a few weeks to recently when I received an Instagram comment off a male stranger stating “You need a man in your life”. This comment was completely unrelated to the photo I had posted which happened to be a photo where I was celebrating myself and my confidence within myself. The irony of this persons words versus the statement I had written in the caption was completely astounding. This led me to question the mans motive behind his words. He claimed “You need a partner, a comforter. Someone to keep you grounded” and “No one ultimately survives alone” as well as “The unconquerable feeling doesn’t last as long for women as it does for men”. I find these three statements hilarious but also infuriating. First of all I do not place value in my life to the opinion of strangers, especially misogynistic assholes but I feel that this topic needs to be addressed.
Our culture has deeply ingrained roots in the idea of coupling. The social expectation for every person to enter into a monogamous, legal partnership has been the norm throughout history.
Traditionally, a woman’s livelihood was entirely dependent on the man she married. This concept was introduced to her as a small child and was maintained whether she was in a higher class and not allowed to work and earn her own way or in a lower class and could not make enough money to support herself in the next to none low paying jobs available to her. Even up until recent times where society consisted of heterosexual married couples where the wife stayed at home and tended to the chores and children and the man went to work and earned the money, meaning the woman was entirely financially dependant on the man.
These days more and more women are choosing freedom and independence but that deeply ingrained value that women are property is still apparent within society. We no longer need the authority of a man to take charge of our own decisions, careers and finances. With the increasing cost of living and unparalleled access to seeing and knowing what the world has to offer us women are striving to start our own businesses and are entirely capable of being financially independent, travelling alone and living an extremely fulfilled life.
When did being single become a synonym for lonely and sad instead of independent and free? Our relationship-obsessed culture is teaching people that we require a partner for self worth and validation. In a society that already sets impossibly high standards for women from the moment we step foot on this earth, the worst is the idea that we need to meet someone and be married in order to be complete.
We have to stop treating being single like having an illness. We have to stop allowing society to tell us how we're supposed to feel about relationships and being single. Everything I wish to gain from life I can do on my own and with the support and love of my friends and family. If I am not capable of grounding myself how can I depend on someone else to do that for me? Happiness starts with you, in this present moment by making peace within yourself and not holding onto the thought that you will only be fulfilled once you meet that “special someone”.
A relationship is a blessing, not a necessity. If the time comes where I meet someone who I believe compliments me I will not deny myself of that opportunity but that person should not be used to fill a void. Every component of a great life is available to you as a single person.
There are possibilities for happiness outside of traditional gender roles, and people should not be ridiculed for stepping outside of patriarchal ideology.
To all my independent women who are repeatedly excluded at work, stigmatised by their relatives, and stereotyped by the greater community I support you. You got this boo! Now lets get this schmoney.
Written by Sophie Lewis
Photography by Ruby Golddust