Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A single woman out on a private cloud

Photo courtesy of Hotel Chatter

This afternoon, my dear friend Eddie sent me the link to this article called The New Girl Order by Kay S. Hymowitz with the message, "Read this article. It's about you." Upon reading it, I discovered that not only is it about me, it's also about so many women that I know. It describes single women who are happy and independent in the world today.
"Conceived and raised in the United States, Carrie [Bradshaw] may still see New York as a spiritual home. But today you can find her in cities across Europe, Asia, and North America. Seek out the trendy shoe stores in Shanghai, Berlin, Singapore, Seoul, and Dublin, and you’ll see crowds of single young females (SYFs) in their twenties and thirties, who spend their hours working their abs and their careers, sipping cocktails, dancing at clubs, and (yawn) talking about relationships. Sex and the City has gone global; the SYF world is now flat."
The article looks at how the globalization of this "single young female" reflects a series of demographic and economic shifts that are pointing many of us toward this so-called "New Girl Order." The trends of delayed marriage, expanded higher education, labour force participation and urbanization, combined with global media and a little disposable income mean that we can say goodbye to many of the limitations that were put on previous generations of women. I think that the main thing is that we have a choice. At 26 years old, if I had found the great love of my life and felt ready to settle down with him, I would have no reservations about doing so. For me,
it's not a case of forgoing marriage in favour of endless girls' nights out and spending all of my hard earned dollars on myself. It's about there being an alternative. I have happily married friends with enviable lives and they still have no shortage of quality girl time. However, I should also be feeling good about what I have and celebrate being young, and happy. Right now, I am focusing on building my career, cultivating friendships and living the life that I have dreamed of living. Most importantly, I am trying to figure out just who I am and what I want out of life. Characters like Carrie Bradshaw remind me that I'm not a loser to be single at 26. There is no longer such a stigma attached to being single after a certain age. The terms "spinster"and ''old maid" are not thrown around as much as they may have been at one time. I can still have a rich, full life even though I haven't found my soul mate yet.
"The lifestyle also means whole new realms of leisure and consumption, often enjoyed with a group of close girlfriends: trendy caf├ęs and bars serving sweetish coffee concoctions and cocktails; fancy boutiques, malls, and emporiums hawking cosmetics, handbags, shoes, and $100-plus buttock-hugging jeans; gyms for toning and male-watching; ski resorts and
beach hotels; and, everywhere, the frustrating hunt for a boyfriend and, though it’s an ever more vexing subject, a husband."
Consumption is not so important to me. Yes, I like nice things but the quality of things that I do in my life are much more important to me than the things that I have.

Speaking for myself, I hope to settle down at some point. I hope to find the man of my dreams who will be my partner in crime, my best friend and the love of my life. At this moment, I am focused on loving my life and learning to love myself, as I am.


Jessica said...

Hi Jenni

Well, I thought this was the perfect post for my first comment on your Blog. I, a 27 year old female, could not agree more with your opinions of being a single, independent woman. I've been single for many years now and I've used this time to get to know myself inside and out. During this time I've become much more grounded and balanced than ever. I've accomplished so many things in my life that I never would have the courage to do, had I never taken the time to be alone. For me, it means so much more than girls nights out, shopping and seeking out the right man. It's about discovering yourself, your goals, dreams and aspirations. It's about figuring out who you are as a person, you're own individuality and learning to love yourself, both the good and the bad. It's then that you will meet your soulmate, the person that will love you unconditionally, because you love yourself. I truly believe that two people cannot connect and form a relationship if neither of them are "whole" as a person on their own. Some people are lucky enough to meet their soulmate early in life, others are meant to follow a different path, one that requires some soul searching before giving yourself to another person. Single ladies out there, embrace this time and take a deep look inside. I guarantee you will find one truly amazing woman that you love for all eternity.

Great writing Jenni.


J said...

Cool article!

Yeah, I think Sex & the City did get me more interested in fashion. My roommate and I used to have days we would 'play S & the City' and dress up just to grab a coffee.

Do you think the show inspired the craze for the most part, or that its author was simply ahead of her time in predicting culture?

Jennifer Stoddart said...

Personally, I think that the show was based on what was already starting to happen in our culture.

Shando said...

I love this post Jenni. Especially being a single 26 year old myself and coming to the reality that my future might not be working out the way I had planned but I am learning and enjoying and experiencing more than i ever thought possible. These are the things that make us strong and able to handle whatever is thrown our way. May that be a boyfriend, family or even just a life time of travelling, girlfriends and a good book. As my Nana says "Boys are like buses, there is one every ten minutes" and I intend to test out our transit system for awhile before I find or commit to a bus that is going to take me where I need to go.

Jennifer Stoddart said...

I love that analogy, Shando. I feel so lucky to have amazing girlfriends like you to have fun with and also to help one another figure this damn transit system out! :)