The Chinese have an expression for women like me. They’re called “Leftover Women“. Leftover Women are still single past, well, whatever age it is people think they should be married. The assumption, of course, is that no man wants these women; they are the ones left after all the desirable women are taken. It seems not to have occurred to users of this phrase that some (many?) of these women are right where they want to be.
Similar to what is trending in the U.S. and in other parts of the world, women in China are choosing to get married later and some not at all. These women don’t see themselves as “leftover”. They are building their lives, choosing careers, getting to know themselves, having fun. In an amusing twist, the word for “leftover” over there is a homonym to the word for “victorious”, and so many of these would-be Leftover Women are proclaiming themselves, instead, to be Victorious Women. It spreads the concept of “victorious women” as a morale-boosting alternative to “leftover women,” and delivers unmarried Chinese women more self-respect. I love that! Talk about turning an unflattering descriptor on its head!
I tried to do the same thing –somewhat clumsily– with Spinster, one of two descriptors in English for women who stay single past the time society thinks they should be married. (The other is Old Maid). From Spinster, I coined Spinsterlicious: a delicious existence as a happy, unencumbered, unmarried woman.
I’m waiting for the English language to produce a better word to describe me. Spinster and Old Maid are too old-fashioned, and riddled with negativity. Spinsterlicious –though I like it– can be a little cheesy.
I’ve noticed that some who work in the marketing biz have started to use Indie Women , playing off the independent nature of many single women. It hasn’t quite caught on just yet, but perhaps it will.
I’m wondering, though, if we can come up with anything better? So, dear reader, what word or phrase would you like to see used to describe an unmarried woman, content with herself and her life? Be creative, have fun with it. Let’s start a new trend!