When Sex and the City sexpot Samantha Jones broke up with her hot lover, Smith, with these immortal words: “I love you, but I love me more,” she took one giant step for womanhood in how single women were portrayed in popular culture. For the fictional character Samantha (Kim Cattral) reflected what we smart, sassy women in real life have known all along: being single can be a positive choice; it is far better to be alone than stay in an unhealthy relationship with Mr Wrong.
What young, single woman wants to be spending their valuable time with a partner who doesn’t blow their socks off? Yet, for many women, being single can still attract a lot of negative stereotypical nonsense from our families and our peers. Indeed, society as a whole still tends to view single women as repellent and abnormal. Leading Australian sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein, 28, who is happily single herself, puts this down to the fact that singletons challenge the status quo.
“There are so many positives in my life to being single in my 20s, but people still comment negatively on it all the time,” Dr Goldstein says. “There is still a real social stigma that women of a certain age should be married and have kids. There’s a question of ‘what’s wrong with you’ if you are single. ‘Are you too high maintenance, do you put your job priority No.1?’
“We as a society still have a very old-fashioned procreation model of sex. Why can’t a single woman be happy?! No one encourages women to do what men do, such as masturbate – it challenges men’s masculinity too much. A lot of men want women who are needy because they have self-esteem issues.”
So, how do the increasing numbers of single women challenge these outdated societal views? And how do women raise their daughters to be out and proud when it comes to being single? Teach them while they’re young, says Dr Goldstein. “When you go through high school, when a guy is interested in you, we’re taught that this makes you a better, more valuable person,” she says. “The risk here, is that women go from one relationship to the next – that’s dangerous when you never develop a sense of self-worth and independence; that’s when co-dependency can become a real issue.
“I don’t think women should be single forever, but it’s so important to figure out who you are and stand on your own two feet. Parents should be actively encouraging this, with their daughters. Women should never be ashamed to be single. It can be a very positive choice – you do not need to be loved by someone to have high self-esteem.”
And one of the greatest joys of being single – aside from not being bored senseless and treated badly by some dimwit – has got to be the chance to develop confidence, inner beauty, fulfilment and self-worth that’s bound to be appealing to the right kind of man you want to attract. “You have to try meeting lots of different men to find out what you want,” Dr Goldstein says, “I like to liken it to eating at a smorgasbord – trying lots of new and interesting options is good for you.
“Experience and knowledge is sexy! And it’s certainly preferable to getting married young and waking up 15 years down the track and saying to your partner: ‘I don’t want to be with you’.”
Image via fanpop.com
By Nicole Carrington-Sima