'Spinster’ – And Loving It

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With over 50% of American women unmarried— we’ll look at the push to reclaim the word “spinster” – to be single and proud of it.

The cover of Kate Bolick's new book, "Spinster: Making A Life Of One's Own." (Crown Publishing)
The cover of Kate Bolick's new book, "Spinster: Making A Life Of One's Own." (Crown Publishing)

There was a time when being a spinster – an unmarried woman of a certain age – was a real social problem. Awkward. Off the social grid. Not cool. Today, in many ways, that’s changed. But not enough, says my guest today, Kate Bolick. She wants women to finally have the full freedom to decide for themselves whether they want marriage or not. And if they don’t, to live full, respected, fulfilling lives without it. No sidewise glances. No disrespect. Spinster pride. This hour On Point: a call to free women from the expectation of marriage.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Kate Bolick, contributing editor for The Atlantic. Author of the new book "Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own." (@katebolick)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: All the Single Ladies — "For thousands of years, marriage had been a primarily economic and political contract between two people, negotiated and policed by their families, church, and community. It took more than one person to make a farm or business thrive, and so a potential mate’s skills, resources, thrift, and industriousness were valued as highly as personality and attractiveness. This held true for all classes."

NPR News: 'Spinster' Celebrates The Single Ladies — "I noticed that there wasn't any positive depiction of single women in popular culture at that moment in time ... You could either be Carrie Bradshaw and be very fabulous and frivolous, or you could be Bridget Jones and be pathetic and desperate. And there was a way in which the conversation around single women or how single women spoke about themselves was very self-deprecating. It was as if single women were a comic figure."

Slate: Marry by 30 — "If you’re attractive, in your 30s, and connected to the Manhattan publishing world, you can probably attend multiple parties a week if you’re on the right lists, meet multiple available (if evasive) men, and barely spend a night alone. But let’s be honest. The reality is that for every decade older or 10 pounds heavier or number of hours outside of New York, the social prospects get dimmer. A few years ago a single writer in her 60s confessed to me, unhappily, that she hadn’t had sex in six years."

Read An Excerpt Of "Spinster" By Kate Bolick

Your Take On The Conversation

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This program aired on April 21, 2015.


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