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

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Robert Fisk
 

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape