I was letting my freshly-applied peroxide set under the dryer this past weekend, when I reached for the closest magazine to entertain me. I picked up the June issue of Marie Claire and was immediately intrigued by a story titled, “Love and the Single Girl.” The five-page article went on to discuss the various perspectives between generations on the meaning of being a successful and single female in her young adult years. The commentary was intriguing and contained many specific notes I’d like to share in the hope that it will influence your frame of mind as we all struggle to redefine “normal.”
It’s no secret that in our grandparents’ generation the value of a woman was most likely placed on her ability to be a good wife. Perhaps this stereotype might apply to our parents’ generation as well. At some point in the last 30 years, however, women have been experiencing a shift in educational opportunities which, in my opinion, is the ultimate force behind success and power. According to an October 2005 article in USA Today, 57% of college graduates were female. More striking is the counterpart to this statistic, that only 43% of college graduates in 2005 were men. This pursuit of education for young women can ultimately lead to expanding career opportunities and, most likely, a drive to embrace ambition.
I can’t speak in sweeping terms as it wouldn’t be appropriate so, I will simply speak from my own experience. I don’t recall my mother ever telling me stories in which her parents encouraged her to be ambitious. Nor are there stories in which she was encouraged to outline a long-term career path and set personal goals. By contrast, I am lucky to have parents that encourage, and frankly require, me and my siblings to pursue education so we can find a sense of self-worth in our accomplishments through hard work and dedication. Not all members of society agree with putting the pursuit of marriage in the backseat, though, and placing our career upfront.
The article in Marie Claire presented a quote by Rush Limbaugh from March 2012 in which he stated, “What is it with all these young, single white women?” The article then effectively made the case for what some consider to be the “traditional path” of pursuing marriage as an evolving concept and its evolution is not to be feared, but embraced. “The divorce rate is going down, especially for people who marry later in life,” the magazine stated.
I’m not here to encourage all young woman to push off marriage for the sake of fulfilling a stereotype that’s quickly becoming the new “normal.” Instead, I encourage all of us to simply keep an open mind and realize that “normal” means something different to everyone. Some may find lasting happiness in young love, while others may wait until later to commit to marriage. Either way, we should be united in saying that each person can follow whatever path or timeline is best suited to their needs.
So, I am more than happy to be a part of a community that is redefining the path we travel when considering marriage. I think that these young, professional, single females are a gift and a future force to be reckoned with.
Images courtesy of Amny.com, Blog.readyforzero.com
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