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|In today's world, our society has more and more women choosing to stay single. Additionally, a new "phenomenon" of sorts amongst these women has emerged- the subcategory of single women in their thirties. Many people also refer to these ladies as "leftover women," but I believe that attaching such a label to these women as "leftover" is not only wrong, but also outdated.
Many women are aware that once they find a good job, if they get married and have kids, their chances of staying in the company are small, once they give birth. This can be either a personal or corporate decision. With that said, some females want to prevent this from happening, so they find a job and get the tenure and/or seniority they need, before deciding to settle down and start a family. Society also has females who just don't want to want to marry, or have kids.
The average age of a person's first marriage is steadily increasing. In 1960, women were 20 and men were 22 when they had their first marriage. In 1990, the ages raised to 26 for men and 23 for women before they married for the first time. In 2013, though, the average age had gone up to 29 for men and 27 for women. Even though these statistics still average under 30, research shows that women with a college degree who marry after the age of 30 make more money ($50,415) than if they were to marry in their 20s ($32,263), even with the same level of education. This is a 56% difference in wages; and as good a reason as any for a woman to wait until her 30s to marry, if she even wants to marry. With the average age of a person's first marriage steadily going up, and a large difference in pay rates between a single woman in her 20s and a single woman in her 30s, it is easy to see marrying early is not- and should not- be a societal norm to which women feel they must conform.
Even in the media, there are celebrities who are in their 30s and unmarried. Queen Latifah, Venus Williams, and Amy Schumer are all single, and in their 30s. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also fits the description. Queen Latifah is a successful singer and actress; Venus Williams is a tennis player, and Amy Schumer is a comedian. Whether it be in Hollywood or in Congress, these women show that there is no need to have a husband in order to be successful today.
I'm currently 21, single, and have never had a boyfriend. In the 1960s, I would already be married off to some guy. In the 1990s, I would be preparing for marriage. The fact that "single woman in her 30s" is even a thing shows the imbalanced nature of society. We believe in women's rights, and gender equality, yet an unmarried woman in her thirties is not someone a girl or young lady should aspire to be, while unmarried men in their thirties are lauded for their independence and ability to avoid the dramas of married life.
This phrase, "leftover women," is wrong because using "leftover" implies that these unmarried females are only unmarried because no male wants to marry them. This assumption is untrue and misogynistic. If these women don't want to be married in the first place, can they even be considered as "leftover"? Dictionary.Com defines "leftover" as "being left or remaining, as an unused portion or amount." Women are not objects to be owned and used, and if these "leftover" women don't want to be married, how can they even be considered leftover, if they weren't part of the original portion to begin with? It's like picking a letter of the alphabet after being told to pick a number from 1-10.
For all the stigmas we find attached to these "leftover" single women, it is strange that we do not find the same attached to the single men. The phrase "leftover women" is also a little odd. Why do we only have "leftover women," and not "leftover men"? People usually think of a single lady in her thirties as solitary, sad, or on her way to being a crazed, single, old lady. However, when they think of a single man in his thirties, it paints a completely different picture. He's happy, going out with friends for a drink after work, or going to clubs to check out the ladies. Also, with friends. This is all normal for him. But what happens when you ask someone what a single lady in her thirties does in her free time? They'll answer with anything along the lines of housework, such as cooking or cleaning. Why is this? Why must women always remain domesticated in society's eyes, while the men go out into the workforce to support the family?
Domesticated women are a thing of the past. In the 60s, women aspired to a housewife and please the men, who were head of the house. However, since the 1960s, there have been multiple laws and policies passed so that women can aspire to be much more than a man's +1. From bosses to CEOs, women are more welcome in the corporate world, and the 56% difference in wages with age shows that.
Women do not need a man to be successful. "Leftover women" are a thing of the past. If women don't want to marry, they can't be "leftover," as they weren't part of the original whole in the first place. Even if these women did want to get married, they'd need to find a suitable partner first. And, for simplicity's sake, if every female each married a male, and the number of males and number of females in this world is about equal, the number of "leftover men" and in this world should be about equal to the number of "leftover women". And if this is the case, why, then, does society not stigmatize these thirty-something year old men as well?