Traditional vs Modern Spinster

PaulaHat

Mod Spinster is meant to be a tongue and cheek reference.  As I mentioned in the welcome post I want to turn spinster into a term of empowerment rather than a put-down.  So what makes a mod spinster different than a traditional spinster?  

The profession of spinster was once an elite one, but now anyone with the correct aspirations and motivations can achieve spinster status.   There are a number of stereotypes associated with spinsters, but now that we’re in the 21st-century spinsters have more options than ever.  

For example, spinsters were once synonymous with the term “cat lady”.  I’m happy to report that all pet lovers are now able to live in spinsterly bliss.  I opted for a bunny rabbit however if dogs, birds, snakes, or guinea pigs are up your ally, have at it.  

Most spinsters in literature in the 19th and early 20th century were depicted as being wealthy.  The ones that come to mind for me are Catherine Sloper in Washington Square and Diana’s Aunt Josephine in Anne of Green Gables.  Women of wealth and stature had the luxury of spinsterdom since few ladies held occupations at this time.  Fortunately, for us all being a spinster is no longer a privilege reserved to the wealthy. We now see spinsters in all income brackets, even ones with student loans.   

Spinsters of yesteryear tended to be depicted as not conventionally attractive and with a homely style.  I don’t personally believe that was the case, but fortunately, that myth has been debunked in recent years. Spinsters are hipsters, boho goddesses, and fashionistas too. FullSizeRender (3)The sexiest woman at the party doesn’t have to be in a relationship.  

Above everything else there are more reasons than ever for a woman to choose the spinster life.  The common reasons of yesteryear were because a woman was either relegated to caring for a relative a la Charlotte Vale in Now Voyager or due to heartbreak, see Miss Havisham in Great Expectations. Fortunately, we have less gloomy reasons to elect single status today.  We can choose to focus on careers, remain single because we’re picky and refuse to settle, or because we simply enjoy living alone.

So let us celebrate the strides we’ve made over the years and continue to make progress for future spinsters to come.  

Welcome

Subway PaulaWhat is a spinster?  If you look up the term in the O.E.D. the definition is a single sentence, “An unmarried woman, typically an older woman beyond the usual age for marriage.”  Seems simple, but this is really a loaded definition.

What is the “usual age” for marriage?  MIc.com has some great stats on marriage in the US The average age for women to get married is 26 (it’s 28 for men), but does that mean you’re a spinster if you’re 27 and single?  According to another study posted on Mic, 28% of adults in the U.S. are not and never have been married compared to 15% 50 years ago. Of course, some of the people in that 28% will eventually get married, but marriage in the U.S. is on the decline every year.  

I named this site Mod Spinster to be a bit cheeky. I live in NYC and in urban areas, it isn’t unusual to be a single 30 something.  However, whenever I go back to the Midwest, where I grew up I’m in the minority. Single men are bachelors, but we really only use the term bachelorette to describe the party a soon to be married woman will have. There is still a stigma against the single gal so she gets referred to as spinster which most people see as a derogatory term.    

Now by calling myself a spinster you may get the impression that I’m a bit of a shut-in who spends my nights alone waiting for someone to ask me out and praying that my cats don’t eat me alive.  That would be a misconception.  First of all, I have a bunny and no cats.  🙂  Secondly, I do date and have relationships, but that part of my life isn’t and has never been my primary focus.  Never say never it could be a priority someday, but for now, I’m focused on other things.  I don’t see myself having children (again never say never), but I’ve not experienced a biological clock ticking or the maternal instincts that so many of my friends who are moms have.  Do I see myself getting married someday; perhaps but again this isn’t a major focus for me or something that keeps me panicky at night, decades from now when I look back at my life if marriage and kids weren’t part of it, I don’t think I’ll feel like I missed out on anything.  However, if in 30 years time I feel like I haven’t accomplished what I wanted to professionally, had the amazing adventures and experiences I’ve been dreaming about, or have a tight-knit group of friends in my life you can bet I’ll feel like a failure.  

This welcome post is going to be one of the few times where I’ll bring up marriage or dating. There are so many things in this world that excite me more than my relationship status. I understand that marriage and kids are a priority for a lot of people, and that’s wonderful for them.  This isn’t a website that is exclusively for the single girl.  I hope that this site can be a platform for anyone: single, married, woman, man, etc.  The point is I want to focus on my passions, which I think are common interests for a lot of others out there.  I’ll be creating and curating content that I would want to read on the topics of style, home and entertaining, adventure, wellness, and my more geeky obsessions.  I hope that it is material you’ll find to be interesting, informative, and fun.