Time to change the image of single women in their 30s

We need a role model other than Bridget Jones or Carrie Bradshaw

 

Share

This has not been a good week for women in their 30s. It's quite terrible, really. A national scandal, you might say. Apparently there are more women than ever living ALONE in their 20s and 30s. Singletons. They are, I am gently reminded, nicknamed the Bridget Jones generation. Cue the pitiful head tilts.

Enough. Isn't it time we had a new role model? Does the fact that more women are living alone mean a nation of lonely, sad spinsters, crooning "All By Myself " after too many glasses of Chardonnay to the chagrin of the neighbours beyond their flimsy walls? Or does it mean that women are earning more, marrying later and embracing and enjoying independence? Where are the stories telling us that there are more young men living alone - and what would their nickname be? In a country where the headlines are dominated by news of property bubbles and skyrocketing rents, surely the statistics on more women living alone should paint a very different picture. All of the women I know that fit in this category share the same traits. They are all professionals, earning a decent wage. They all work long hours to earn those wages, and are far too busy catching up on their emails and social commitments in the evenings to waste time fantasising about dying alone and being eaten by wolves.

I used to live alone - until I moved to London and realised I could afford to either flatshare or start living off packet soups. But I loved my little shoebox. After years of student digs and sharing with strangers - and before that years of bickering with four siblings - the feeling of coming home and closing the door behind you to your own private sanctum is incomparable.

My social life was better. I could invite friends for dinner without having to do the kitchen dance while three other flatmates. I could decorate the way I wanted without having to reason why a traffic cone did not make a good feature.

But, best of all, I could be ALONE. Yes, I could choose to spend a Saturday night in front of the TV with a glass of wine. And no moping. None at all. (Although there may have been some questionable Bridget-esque pyjamas.) I know the area where Bridget Jones lived, in the film at least. And it is prime real estate. Currently, the bottom end of the rental market for a one-bedroom flat around London Bridge will cost you about £450 a week. A happy-go-lucky junior journalist such as Bridget would struggle to afford that. And, while we're at it, if she did live in that area, she probably wouldn't be sitting around in her pyjamas bemoaning her life or making questionable blue soup for dinner parties. She'd be flitting around nearby Tate Modern, buying chorizo in Borough Market or drinking in trendy Shoreditch with her mates, all the while regaling them with tales of her latest Tinder date.

Don't get me wrong. I grew up with Bridget, and have a certain fondness for her, as you would for any bumbling but loveable childhood friend. For all her kookiness, she tries to be a feminist, and independent at that. She loses the love rat, embarks on a whole new career and, yes, lives ALONE in central London.

Perhaps the problem is a dearth of good female role models. An obscure feminist character in a novel doesn't make a very catchy hook for an article. The Lisbeth Salander generation? Dodgy haircuts, dragon tattoos and manhating issues? The Katniss Everdeens? Better, but hardly preoccupied with the property market while there are Hunger Game battles to the death going on. The Carrie Bradshaws? While we fabulous thirtysomethings aren't all crying in the bathtub every night, neither are we hanging out in our knickers gleefully perusing our shoe collections.

Perhaps, in time, characters will start to mirror real life. Hermione will tire of the hapless Ron Weasley, and move into a penthouse bought with the proceeds of her corporate witching academy. After Homer's death from a massive coronary and the children have departed, Marge will finally get out of polluted Springfield and rent in New York's East Village where she can concentrate on her painting. And Dora the Explorer will grow up to take a career with National Geographic.

But in the meantime, no more Bridget comparisons, please. We're far too busy examining council tax bands to deal with that.

Twitter: @Siobhan_Norton1

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse requiredI am ...

LSA Level 3 required in Caerphilly

£50 - £60 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: O...

Welsh Year 6 Teacher required in Barry

£100 - £110 per day + Plus travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Pro-democracy protesters fill the streets in front of the Hong Kong government offices on a third day of the Occupy Central campaign  

Hong Kong protests: Why are we obsessed with the spread of democracy abroad when ours is failing?

Amit Singh
 

Daily catch-up: ugly buildings, fighting spirit, and a warning on low pay

John Rentoul
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?