Empowering women in relationships

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By Rebecca Widdowson, First Year Sociology

The Croft Magazine // Learn what really makes you tick so that you know what you want from a relationship when the opportunity presents itself. Which it will.

Whenever I see people hating on a woman for being single, I’m reminded of the scene from Bridget Jones’ Diary, where she makes a joke about being a single woman.(Then again, Bridget spends the majority of the film desperate to be in a relationship.So perhaps she’s not the best role model.)

At a friend’s dinner party, she’s asked, “Why is it that there are so many single women in their thirties these days?”. Her response is “our entire bodies are covered in scales.”

Yes, her quick-witted response is hilarious, but the fact that the question is even being asked in the first place makes me wonder why women are always expected to be in relationships and men are not. These double-standards must exist for a reason, right?

In times such as these, I find comfort in the words of Caitlin Moran. (On a slight side-note: Caitlin Moran should definitely be one of your top feminist icons for her steadfast demolition of the patriarchy.)

Moran suggests in order to decide if there’s sexism about we should ask one simple question: “Are the men doing it?”.

The answer is no. Obviously. Men are seemingly encouraged or praised for being single, when women are shunned socially.

It seems obvious to me that the reason why men are praised or even encouraged to be single is that society is still so male dominated.Full-time working men still earn 8.9% per hour more than full-time working women. So,isn’t it plausible that this gender inequality has translated into our relationships too?

Connected to this concept is the idea that women can only be happy when they’re in a relationship with a man. Which is ludicrous to say the least. The obvious exception to this idea: lesbians. Or did we just forget they exist?

Whenever I find myself worrying about being a single pringle I try to counter any negative ideas with cheerier ones

Let’s not neglect to mention all the incredible women, throughout history, who have accomplished amazing things, all whilst being single.

My personal favourite is journalist Nellie Bly, who was unhappy by her editors’ insistence that she should report on typical ‘female’ topics, such as fashion or beauty. Her solution was to travel to Mexico, aged only 21, to report on the everyday lives of the people she encountered. Oh, and she travelled around the world in 72 days too.

Of course, some would argue that Nellie Bly is an exception, and not applicable to our modern-day experiences of being single.

But a more recent single female, Kendall Jenner,said in an interview that "a strong women is independent and doesn’t need a man. She can walk into a room by herself and not be bothered”.This quote is exactly the kind of boost that is needed to empower more women to embrace the single life.

Whenever I find myself worrying about being a single pringle I try to counter any negative ideas with cheerier ones, consider the following.

Things you can do as a single woman:

  1. Eat all the garlic bread. All of it.
  2. Dress comfortably (i.e. tracksuit bottoms all the time should you wish).
  3. Fart in bed.
  4. Gawp at good looking people in the street and not feel guilty.
  5. Spend more time with friends and family.

And the list goes on.

More importantly, we have to recognise that being single is normal. The Office of National Statistics data shows over 16.2 million people in the UK are single.You are not alone (ironically).

Find happiness in being single through your economic independence! You are free to go out and buy whatever your heart desires. You want those shark slippers that look like they’re eating your feet? You go get them girl! Fancy a cheeky Nando’s? Great, more chicken for you anyway! How about buying some flowers for yourself to brighten up the kitchen? Lilies are in season right now.

My point is you need to own being single like you’re owning those shark slippers.

Use this time to figure yourself out. Learn what really makes you tick so that you know what you want from a relationship when the opportunity presents itself. Which it will. I have no doubt that you are an incredible individual, and anyone would be lucky to have you.

So, the next time you feel a pang of loneliness about not having a significant other, why not take a moment to think about all the times you handled something importantby yourself. Doesn’t that prove you’re awesomely independent?And I guarantee, the list will be longer than you think.

Featured: Rebecca Widdowson


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