Leftover Women

2131951188_2ff5c0e466_sThe 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 spreadsimages-3 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!



"The Spinsterlicious Life", The BookI 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!


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7 Responses to Leftover Women

  1. On the one hand I’m totally with you and love the idea of a word that can stand as an icon for awesome single women ‘of a certain age’ everywhere. (and am also aware that you’re just being playful and love that too).

    However, it pains me that this even has to be a thing, that I can’t just be known as a woman and that’s enough. I want to be known as smart or funny or adventurous. The fact that I haven’t committed my life to a man seems a pretty insignificant part of who I am (she says as a sex and dating blogger lol).

    That being said, I’ll keep this in mind in case I DO manage to stumble upon that brilliant term that says all the things we want it to 😉

  2. Nissa says:

    I say we have a contest to pick the most Spinsterlicious woman of all time, and name ourselves after her. After all, to copy something is to ‘Xerox” is, to take a picture is to have a ‘Kodak moment’ and to use aluminum foil we ask for Reynold Wrap.
    So why not do the same thing and name ourselves after someone who exemplifies this? We could say, “she’s a Clooney” or “she’s an Earheart” (after Amelia Earheart, the famous pilot).
    What do you think?

  3. Patrick says:

    Happy and secure

    • Veviticus says:

      You hit the nail on the head with just two little words. Ament.
      My Mamma use to say, it’s not what people call you that matters…it’s what you answer to that counts. Now sing it with me…”if you happy and you KNOW it, clap your hands…”

  4. Kelly says:

    This is too timely—I just saw an episode of Vice where they talked about the problem of marriage in China. Thanks to the one child policy (and the preference for male heirs), there is a shortage of women for eligible bachelors. The guys compete on public stages to win the affection of one woman, their parents offer whatever money they have as a dowry for their male child, and the women aren’t really interested because they make their own money and have their own careers. It was quite fascinating, watching all these men freak out about the prospect of becoming “old bachelors” while the women just couldn’t care less.

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