NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF SELECTION * BEST BOOKS OF All the Single Ladies and millions of other books are available for instant. Start by marking “All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation” as Want to Read: See all 5 questions about All the Single Ladies. Whether you are single or attached, Traister's discussion of the historical and growing political power of single women. Thankfully, with the publication of Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, I can stop explaining and download her book for all the busybodies in my happily unmarried life. Traister blends history, reportage and personal memoir.

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When you download an independently reviewed book through our new book, “ All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an. All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister - * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS OF SELECTION * BEST BOOKS OF SELECTION BY THE. NPR coverage of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the December 6, • The Book Concierge is back and bigger than ever!.

But last Christmas, she brought it up. But you just broke up with them and moved on without having to go through all that.

Topics Books. Women Marriage Family reviews. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. In , the year that the Feminine Mystique was published, Steinem had written The Beach Book, a guide to travel and tanning that featured a foil cover flap that readers might use to catch rays. He asked her if she ever wanted to marry. Yes, she said. That same year, while covering an abortion speak-out in Greenwich Village, Steinem, who had had an abortion in Europe in her early twenties, experienced a conversion.

In , she and Letty Cottin Pogrebin launched Ms. Not everyone was charmed. She always had a man. What was so disruptive about Steinem, and other women who were living like her, whether or not they had men on their arms, was that it seemed she just really enjoyed being free.


More young unmarried women were about to join her, thanks to two landmark cases decided in the early seventies. The Supreme Court had made birth control legal for married couples in the case, Griswold v.

Wade that abortion was legal. The decision affected married and single women equally.

But, for the unmarried, legal abortion provided yet another tool to protect their ability to live outside of marriage. It is finally becoming possible to be both single and whole.

With every passing year in the s, there were simply more ways to valorize female existence: more jobs to apply for, flings to have, money to earn.

As these new temptations clashed with the retro realities of marriages begun in a pre-feminist era, the divorce rate skyrocketed, hitting close to 50 percent through the late s and s.

The divorce boom had a huge impact on never or not-yet married women. First, it created more single people, helping to slowly destigmatize the figure of the woman without a ring on her finger. It also forced a very public reckoning with marriage as an institution of variable quality.

The realization that a bad marriage might be bad enough to cause a painful split provided ammunition to those women who preferred to abstain from marriage than to enter a flawed one. In , a study conducted by male researchers from Harvard and Yale concluded that a never-married, university-educated forty-year-old woman had only a 2.

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation

And yet, women kept right on not marrying. In , the median age for first marriage for women jumped to nearly twenty-four, the highest it had been in the century in which it had been recorded. The future had arrived. With it had come echoes of the past advances of unmarried women, this time threatening the status quo with the sexual and economic power won for them by previous generations. Rising to meet them would be new iterations of old political and cultural opposition, figures anxious to corral these sites back into the marital fold.

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Now Abstention from or delay of marriage may have been a conscious choice for some women in the s and s, but it has now simply become a mass behavior. The most radical of feminist ideas—the disestablishment of marriage—has, terrifyingly for many conservatives, been so widely embraced as to have become habit, drained of its political intent, but ever more potent insofar as it has refashioned the course of average female life.

By , about half of first-time births were to unmarried women; for women under thirty, it was almost 60 percent. Millions of women now live with, but do not marry, long-term partners; others move in and out of sequential monogamous relationships; live sexually diverse lives; live outside of romantic or sexual relationships altogether, both with and without children; marry or enter civil unions with members of the same sex or combine some of these options.

The journey toward legal marriage for gays and lesbians may seem at odds with what looks like a flight from marriage by heterosexuals. But in fact, they are part of the same project: a dismantling of the institution as it once existed—as a rigidly patrolled means by which one sex could exert legal, economic, and sexual power over another—and a reimagining of it as a flexible union to be entered, ideally, on equal terms. Taken together, these shifts, by many measures, embody the worst nightmare of social conservatives: a complete rethinking of who women are and who men are and, therefore, also of what family is and who holds dominion within it.

Kate Bolick adopted a more idiosyncratic approach: Mingling memoir with sketches of women writers who led unconventional lives, she tried in "Spinster" to detoxify an anachronistic epithet and exalt the solo state of mind. Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation" — yet another mostly celebratory take on single women. Examining both the present moment and the sweep of American history, she describes single women as important agents of social change. Single or late-marrying women, she writes, have been integral to the abolitionist, suffragist, labor, civil and gay rights, and, of course, feminist movements, and to the transformation of marriage itself.

Traister counts herself a beneficiary of that last reform impulse. A virgin until 24 this may be one of the book's more shocking revelations , with a checkered romantic history, and a young adulthood focused on work and strong female friendships, she ultimately got lucky: She met her future husband at the bar of a restaurant where she had stopped to pick up a takeout dinner. She married at 35 — late, but not extraordinarily so for her generation and social class — and managed to have two children before her window of opportunity closed.

Though Traister is no longer one of us, she retains her memories and her empathy, as well as her feminist commitments. Drawing on historical and contemporary sources, as well as her own reporting, she has produced a wide-ranging, insistently optimistic analysis of the role of single women in American society. Among the topics she covers are the power of female friendship, the diversity of attitudes towards sex, alternate paths to parenthood and the special challenges encountered by poor women and women of color.

As she concedes, a disproportionate number of her subjects — she interviewed about women, and includes the stories of about 30 — are "college-educated feminists, writers and New Yorkers. Among her interviewees are Gloria Steinem married at 66, widowed three years later and law professor Anita Hill partnered, but unmarried , famous for having injected sexual harassment into the national conversation.

Traister did seek out a handful of women with more conservative leanings, including those whose religious affiliations dictated premarital chastity. Deliberately missing, though, are the voices of men, to the book's detriment.

It may not be possible to understand completely what today's single women are up against without listening to those male voices: Synthesizing scholarship by Stephanie Coontz and others, Traister traces how American women have responded to the constrictions of marriage and cheers what she calls "the invention of independent female adulthood.The decision affected married and single women equally.

Loading comments… Trouble loading? Limbaugh turned promptly to eroticized denigration of the independent woman in a way that recalled the treatment of Anita Hill twenty years earlier. In , she and Letty Cottin Pogrebin launched Ms.

The decision affected married and single women equally. At least until Gloria came along.

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