Even today, the image of the single woman is still viewed with concern in many cultures. It wasn’t long ago when we wrote about the story of women in China who haven’t found a husband by age 25 and are seen by their families and the rest of society as “leftovers.”
Similar situations occur in other countries in various ways, and all attribute negative aspects to the woman who rather than settling for a relationship she doesn’t want, chooses to be single.
Anthropologist Helen Fisher is well known in the study of relationships and the image of women in culture. In her book “The First Sex” she extols the role of the woman who doesn’t feel obligated to find a husband and who achieves her own triumphs in society.
This is the woman who knows how to just be happy.
We invite you to reflect on this concept today.
Being single in a patriarchal society and a matriarchal family
Here we find a curious duality. Certain countries continue to be very patriarchal even today (China and India, for example), where a young woman must seek a marital bond that serves their own family—especially their father—and maintains their social status.
In other countries, however, it is the mother of the family who puts pressure on a daughter to expand the family and carry on the lineage.
A mother who wants grandchildren or wishes to see her daughter with her life laid out for her—attached to a husband who has a good job, for example—these are somewhat antiquated images that thanks to tradition, nevertheless persist into modernity.
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That’s why it’s important to consider this subject for a moment.
Couples who come and go
The truth is that most people know it’s clearly not that simple to find a life partner. People grow, progress, change, and improve throughout life, and on that journey they’re likely to have more than one romantic companion.
- It’s a well-known fact that you can spend countless wonderful times with a person, then end the relationship and move into a new state of solitude with equal satisfaction.
- You can live life to the fullest single or in a couple, as long as those around you are respectful and let you just be happy with your life.
- Your personal freedom is a gift that unfortunately may not be promoted in every culture, and today you might still be surprised by reading news about girls and young women who are bought and sold into relationships just like goods in the market.
- A woman is not a commodity, and she should never be seen as being “incomplete” because she doesn’t have a husband.
- We are all complete human beings who keep moving forward, growing, little by little, with our own mirror that reflects what we want to be. Whether we are with or without a partner.
Being single and “not searching”
Another common fact even in the most progressive of societies is the notion that if a person is not married, whether they’re male or female, they should constantly be looking for their other “half.”
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- Every person is allowed to do what they want. They can search for a partner if they choose to, but they can also choose not to, let life simply bring them what it will, and just be happy.
- They might just be happy enjoying their social relationships, their family, and their work. They don’t need to search for someone else to make them whole.
- This balance and inner peace can offer great fulfillment and happiness.
In addition to that, this allows them to build more mature relationships, where both partners are happy with who they are and not empty or fearful.
Let’s go back to some of the theories of Helen Fisher. The famous anthropologist wrote her book “The First Sex” to critique the well-known classic by Simone de Beauvoir, “The Second Sex.”
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- In it, she reflects on a number of ideas about women who are encouraged to rely on their own abilities to become leaders in society.
- According to Fisher, women’s brains are more intuitive and empathetic, which can be quite useful in work and organizational contexts, hence the need to fight for it.
- Women should pursue their own happiness any way that they choose: with a partner, without a partner, with a large family, with no children, with a high-powered job, or with a simple job that brings them peace of mind.
It’s also worth thinking about whether women are the “first sex” or not—or whether we’re all just people who should respect one another and promote a freer society with equal opportunities for everyone.