As a person who has willfully remained single for the past four years, I can attest to the glory of flying solo. Sure, vintage Taylor Swift songs became a tad less relatable when there is no #relationshipdrama in your life anymore, but this is easily outweighed by a) never having to share your fancy deli cheese, and b) never feeling obligated to check in with another human before you do something ~reckless~. (Read: get fringe bangs or take a long weekend upstate. GASP.) But truly, I think the only womp-womp I have encountered as a single woman in my 20s doesn't have anything to do with my own singleness, but rather the stereotypical single girl tropes that get projected on my kind — particularly because they are gendered, sexist, and for the most part, ridonk false.
Whether or not you're single right now, you (statistically? hopefully?) have been single at some point in your life, so you recognize the tropes I'm talking about. We see them on television, in rom-coms, in advertising. We are annoyed by them, push back when they're applied to us unfairly, and sometimes even unconsciously apply them to other single women despite our best efforts. Our portrayal of single women in the media may be starting to shift as we push back on it, but it's not happening fast enough, and it's hella irritating for those of us who are subject to it. So without further ado, here are the ~single gal~ tropes we need to stop perpetuating ASAP:
Single Women Are ~Desperate~ For Love
The entire plot of the movie He's Just Not That Into You and an infinity number of rom coms featuring single ladies all hinge on this one undermining trope: that women are not single by choice, and their one desperate objective in life is snagging someone. The truth? Some women are totally comfortable being single, and that's fine. Some women are looking to be in a relationship, and that's also fine. The important distinction here is that wanting to be in a relationship isn't a "desperate" notion — it's a human one. Single ladies who are out on the prowl: do not let society shame you into thinking you do not deserve to want the things you want out of life. You do you. Single ladies who are content being single: I'll also take that with fries.
Single Women Are "Way Too Picky"
If a guy stays single for a long time, he's living that bachelor life and nobody bats an eye. If a woman stays single, it's because her "standards are too high," she's "too picky," or she's a snob. As a person who does date selectively, I take issue with this notion for two reasons. One is that this whole "pickiness" is a mislabel for an intention that is actually in the best interest of everyone involved — why would you commit to a partner you didn't ultimately see yourself sticking it out with, and waste both of your time and energy in the process? Another is that single women are not expecting a fairytale. Most of us are single because we know there's no fairytale, so rather than chase after it, we're just going to wait for life to happen to us in the messy, beautiful way it does. Or, y'know — not wait for it at all. Because some of us are perfectly fine on our own, thank you very much.
Single Women Are Competing With Other Single Women
Get ready for a mic drop: Love is not a battlefield. On television this trope makes for tidy 30 minute conflicts between single ladiez before someone is "chosen" (or not chosen at all) by the love interest, but in real life, mature, self-assured single women know that that their singlehood has nothing to do with another woman's, and their happiness is not dependent on anyone else's situation but their own.
Single Women Are Deeply Worried About Their Biological Clocks
While it is perfectly valid as a woman who wants kids to worry about whether or not you'll be able to make it happen, it's not fair to assume that any single woman's motivation to be in a relationship is solely driven by the desire to bear children. Plenty of us want nothing to do with kids, and for those of us who do — it's not exactly old news that partners are not at all a requirement in this day and age to have kids on our own, anyway. So can we retire this notion once and for all?
Single Women Resent Being The Third Wheel/Hate Valentine's Day/Secretly Wish All Their Coupled Friends Would Die
I'm not going to down and out say that jealousy isn't a thing that exists, so I can't speak for all single women on this — but it's an incredibly irritating and potentially friendship-damaging trope to cast on all single women. It's tropes like these that undermine the genuine, true happiness that single women have for their friends who are in relationships. This harks back to that whole "single women competing against each other" trope — relationships aren't prizes to be won, and other women are not the enemy. Relationships are things that happen to people, and most single women, whether they want to be in a relationship or not, are totally rooting for their coupled friends and would never do anything to compromise their happiness.
Single Women Only Venture Out Into New Activities To Meet Someone
UGH, this is so gross and presumptuous, and it happens all the time. Even a few years ago when I was wrestling between two job offers, multiple friends, women and men, asked me to "be honest": was I conflicted between the two options because of what the jobs entailed, or because there were better prospects at one of them? I'm not even a person who talks about being single IRL, so the fact that this was one of the first questions they thought to ask shows just how pervasively conditioned we are to assume that women frame the important decisions in their lives around the idea of ~romance~ and partnership, rather than their own benefit.
Single Women Are Disillusioned About Love And Need Someone To ~Fix~ Them
This is perhaps the most dangerous trope at all. Single women don't need to be "fixed," whether they want to be in a relationship or not. This isn't so much a misunderstanding about single women as it is about relationships in general — because relationships don't fix people. People, in general, don't change. If something about a person needs fixing, it has to be acknowledged and addressed by that person, not by mystical savior figure who "rescues" the single woman in this trope.
Images: New Line Cinema