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“I’m a Loser, I’m Not Married, Let’s Just All Look at Me”: Ever-Single Women’s Perceptions of Their Social Environment

July 15, 2011 Comments off

“I’m a Loser, I’m Not Married, Let’s Just All Look at Me”: Ever-Single Women’s Perceptions of Their Social Environment (PDF)
Source: Journal of Family Issues

Despite growing numbers of singles, the idealization of marriage and child rearing remains strong, pervasive, and largely unquestioned. Guided by life course perspective, the purpose of this article was to examine familial and societal messages women receive when not married by their late 20s to mid-30s. Using descriptive phenomenological method, the authors conducted 32 interviews with 10 middle-class, ever-single women. Respondents’ social environments were characterized by pressure to confirm to the conventional life pathway. Pressure was manifested in women feeling both highly visible and invisible. Specifically, women’s social worlds included (a) awareness of the changing reality as they became older (e.g., changing pool of eligible men, pregnancy risks), (b) reminders that they were on a different life path (i.e., visibility ) through others’ inquires and “triggers” (e.g., weddings), and (c) displacement in their families of origin (i.e., invisibility). The authors discuss the visible/invisible paradox, which appeared to be pronounced at their life stage.

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