J is 23 and live outside of Los Angeles.
How did you arrive at the decision to not get married? How firm are you in this decision?
I never really decided not to get married, I just know it’s not for me. And while I “never say never,” I’m not in the market for a husband. I’m capable of having long term relationships (romantic or otherwise), but I have an extremely difficult time living with other people, in any capacity. Therefore, co-cohabitation relationships (like marriage) seem unrealistic to me. However, I do like the idea of having a wedding reception, so I might just have a big, fancy party!
Where did you get your thoughts about marriage?
I found feminism at a very young age which made clear to me the systematic and ritualistic sexism that’s present in weddings and marriage (I completely believe that all women should make their own choices though, and if they want marriage they should have it) and it just bothers me. I have no problem with the idea of a life long relationship, but I don’t need a ring and a piece of paper to validate that.
What do you say to folks who ask you when you’re getting married?
Since I am not currently in a relationship I haven’t gotten that question recently–thank God. But when I do, I generally just tell them I have no plans for marriage. Since I’m only 23 the general response I get is something along the lines of “oh, you’ll change your mind when you get older/meet a nice man.” This answer is very troublesome to me, because first and foremost it’s sexist! And it implies that my opinions aren’t valid because I’m young and/or that my opinions can be overridden by the opinions of a man, which only confirms in me that I don’t want to get married! Of course, my opinion of my own marital status might change later in life, but that doesn’t mean that not wanting to get married is silly, foolish, or a triviality of my youth.
Why do you think there’s such a stigma against women who aren’t married/choose not to be married? How do you think this stigma has affected you?
I think it’s a left over stigma. Because in previous decades women had to get married in order to survive because women either didn’t work because they couldn’t or because of the huge social stigmas associated with it. Basically, I just think it’s archaic and it’s horrible that unmarried men aren’t subject to the same stigma! But, like I said before, I’m only 23 which isn’t an age subject to “why aren’t you married?!” interrogations, but I’m not exactly looking forward to my 30th birthday simply because that’s when I think they’ll start…
What are your feelings on the word “spinster”?
I don’t know if I really have an opinion on “spinster,” other than I think it’s kind of a funny word. I prefer “old maid,” I like being associated with a delightful card game.