News Blog: Why women are choosing not to marry

By Sarah Peterson

Released just this morning and viewed on NBC’s The Today Show, The Atlantic Magazine highlights reporter Kate Bolick on the cover titled, “What, me marry?” Bolick’s article, “All the Single Ladies” is getting a lot of attention, defining in her opinion why the roles between men and women are changing so drastically and how that effects marriage.

Bolick begins by laying out the facts:

  • 2010 was the first time in American history that women made up the majority of the workforce
  • Last year women held 51.4 percent of all managerial and professional positions which is up from the mere 26 percent in 1980.
  • Today women outnumber men not only in college but in graduate school
  • In 2010 women earned 60 percent of all bachelor’s and master’s degrees

According to the 2010 U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at each level of education women have fared better than men with respect to earnings growth. It also reports that while both women and men without a high school diploma have experienced declines since 1979, the drop for women was significantly less than that for men: a 9-percent drop for women opposed to a 31-percent drop for men. Considering those with college degrees, earning for women have increased by 33 percent since 1979, while those of male college graduates have risen by 20 percent.

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Bolick believes that the recent explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects have disrupted the ‘romantic market’ in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options. This strange state of affairs presents opportunity Bolick says. As the economy evolves, it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family- and to acknowledge the end of ‘traditional’ marriage as society’s highest ideal.

In the past Bolick pointed out that as long as women were denied educational and financial opportunities of men they were forced to “marry up.” This would be the only way for them to improve their life. Just like Maureen Dowd mentioned in her book, Are Men Necessary?, Bolick agreed that Females may still be programmed to search for the man as her only resource, and men still to search for the younger naive women.

This is what has changed. Women are no longer turning to men as their source of security.

And not even that. Bolick states in her article, “..our shrinking pool of traditionally “marriageable” men is dramatically changing our social landscape, and producing startling dynamics in the marriage market, in ways that aren’t immediately apparent.”

So not only are women moving up in the world and achieving a better social status on their own, but according to Bolick they are leaving men behind them. Looking into the future she states there may not be very many options for women to marry.

Edith Zimmerman with “The Hairpin” interviewed Bolick about the responses she might receive for expressing her views on marriage particularly by male readers.

“As for the male reaction: Honestly, I have no idea. What do you think? Imagining myself into a man’s head is beyond my abilities (maybe if I could do that I’d be a novelist?). It certainly was my intention to make it clear that not all women are obsessed with marriage and children, as in my experience men assume that of every single woman they meet. (In fact, I think these rigid assumptions we all have about one another — what men want; what women want — are a symptom of how confused we are about changing gender roles.)”

Many have differing opinions in reaction to Bolick. Most on Twitter continue to recommend the story as a must read while there are continually negative comments by those who disagree posting on the article’s website.


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