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All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and…

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent… (edition 2016)

by Rebecca Traister (Author)

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3561730,619 (3.89)15
Title:All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Authors:Rebecca Traister (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2016), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Collections:Currently reading

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All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister



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I really enjoyed this look at the increasing number of single women in society and how that has been treated historically, and how it is being treated today. Excellent information, that did not read like a report, very good on audiobook too. This is my second book by this author this year, and I will be looking for more of her work in the future. ( )
  RivetedReaderMelissa | Mar 22, 2018 |
Good writing, but ultimately nothing really new. I had been excited for this book after hearing about it. Unfortunately, while Traister has an engaging, easy reading style (she's also a journalist), the material in the book isn't exactly groundbreaking or new information.
What I thought I was going to read (and liked the best) comes in brief snippets: Traister looking at the role of single women in recent US presidential elections and some of the reasons of why the voted the way they did (or not). Instead a lot the book was kind of...filler. There's a history of single women and some of the roles they've played in US history (some big names, some people you've probably never heard of), etc.
What really bored me was the anecdotes from various people (including herself). There's a review that loves that Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow are in this book. I have absolutely no idea who these women are and really wasn't interested in their friendship. I mean, that's great if someone else is happy but in terms of what Traister was trying to get across I wasn't interested and didn't learn anything new. And while I respect and did like hearing some of the personal stories of women for different viewpoints and different experiences, it was a little too much. Like others I would have liked a little more analysis and less anecdotal stories.
I don't know, I suppose I was expecting something else/was fooled by the marketing. I think for someone less familiar with single women and the role they play this would be a good book.
A good book I really liked was 'Going Solo' by Eric Klinenberg, which is about the general trend of people (women or men) living alone. It's not quite in the same vein as it's not about women specifically, but if you're looking for something that has some similar themes that might be a good compliment (or even substitute) for this one.
Borrowed this from the library, which was right for me. Might make a good gift for the right person. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
A very useful and important book. I agree with it. However I found it sad that it only included a tiny paragraph on people who aren't straight (and only in how gay marriage helps hetero people) and a somewhat larger paragraph on people who don't want kids. ( )
  lemontwist | Jan 1, 2018 |
All the Single Ladies A compelling book about the herstory and current state of being a single woman in the US. Some new information for me, but also referenced some books I've read before!
It's exciting for me that she references books I've read. It means that I might just be catching up on the state feminism and a reasonable amount of it's herstory and therefore taking that information out of "cold storage" and into active use.
I have not been "single" but because of both my and my husband's jobs, I've spent time alone and totally understand some of the reasons listed for not wanting to get involved with a partner, let alone married. I have always missed my husband when I or he was on travel for work, and my son since his birth as well, but I understand how great it can be to not have to worry about what they want to do today or how long it will take them to get ready or how long we can stay somewhere. One or the other of us has been gone for months and we've used the time to do pretty much what these single women do but without even having to worry about dating. We've also had our share of bad times enough to know that it takes a lot to have a good marriage and both have to be in it all the way. In other words, it's not something to enter into lightly and I appreciate that these women are taking their time to be sure about tying their lives to someone else's.
Because of this, I cannot properly express my appreciation of Traister's inclusion of the facts on marriage, specifically bad marriage. It is far from a guarantee on almost everything that people tell you to get married for. In fact, if someone is  telling you that you should marry, you probably shouldn't. In my opinion, it's a sign you aren't ready yet. I love her sentiment that marriage is increasingly being reserved as special. It is special. It is something that you should want more than anything when you do it, much like having children. But it's also not something that everyone should do and not something that everyone needs to want (also like kids). I don't understand the craze over the declining birth rates but I have noticed that we've stopped talking about overpopulation, which was a major problem that needed solving when I was a kid. Now we're back to encouraging women to get married and pop out babies.
Well, affluent white women. Yeah, it was also great that Traister includes the differences in the messages to women of color and poor women. Marriage is not the answer to financial stability. It can help and for some it is an answer, but financial stability is not a good reason to hitch your life and well-being to someone else. They may not deliver. You may grow to hate them. They may grow to hate you. They might leave or die. There are no guarantees in life and Traister reminds the reader of that.
Marriage is great, when it's great. Some of us are in it good enough to even work through what we consider hard times. Others of us have to deal with various forms of abuse. It is not an answer to how to make life great because it can be awful. It can be the worst thing for you. So waiting to marry until you really want to, I have always thought was a good idea.
More than all this, painting the picture of a single woman as one who is happy with her life is an incredible and beautiful thing. Yes, being in love is great, but so is being you. We shouldn't be painted as needing a partner to be whole or fulfilled or happy. We should be able to be happy with ourselves. I have known plenty of women who are happy on their own and with what their lives are giving them and don't feel a family would increase this feeling. Mine does for me, but I know these same two people could make others very not happy. Between the book and personal experience, I am compelled to believe that surrounding ourselves with people who we can be ourselves and happy around is the best way to live, it just doesn't always include legal styles of partnering like marriage.
I love the idea of celebrations of singledom. I don't have many single friends (it just happens when you're married or single that we migrate to separate circles) but I would happily buy one a present for some other milestone. I also find that the way we lavish expense on weddings to be extreme and unnecessary and demanding friends to partake in expensive gifts is not cool. I've had a big wedding and a small one and I can tell you that they require so much compromise and cause so much stress that the lavishness wasn't worth it for me. The small wedding was better, more hectic in the preparations but relaxed during the ceremony and party and I could actually enjoy myself instead of worrying about all the tables I needed to stop by and other disasters, including that I've just put myself and my family in extra debt for just a day. Though, I guess it can seem okay when we expect to reciprocate eventually, but when most women get married around the same age, it can be drain on everyone around us. And then, yeah, baby showers are completely necessary still and those don't preclude single women, though they can be drain on the wallet too. Personally, I'd rather save it for the baby shower because babies require a lot of set up costs.
Still, we should be able to celebrate singledom. We should be able to be happy for each other when someone is doing something we wouldn't necessarily do. I don't know what those celebrations should be, but I'm all for it. Maybe a 'moving out on your own' party, or something. I don't know. Single people, let us know!
I really enjoyed this book. It did get a low at times, explaining the realities of both singledom and marriage in many of their forms both good and bad, but overall, it was an enjoyable read. It gave me hope for the future and the direction that women are going in this country. It was inclusive of many ways of being single and/or married and the evolution of some problems for both. It's an important book to read and I'd pair it with The Feminine Mystique if you haven't read it. Not only is it mentioned, but they work well together to further illuminate the evolution of women in this country in a way that neither does well on it's own. Obviously, The Feminine Mystique is technically about 55 years behind the times, but you'll cringe to see how similar the times can really be while appreciating those changes that have been made.
Progress is slow but real. It seems like a crawl and like we take two steps back for every step forward, but reading some of the older texts definitely helps me realize the changes, though subtle, that have taken place in our impressions of our own society. ( )
  Calavari | Jul 16, 2017 |
This is a good book, but it is dense. I started it in early August and just finished it late last night because I didn’t want to carry around such a hefty hardback book, and also because I kind of just wanted to read puffy junk like “Nerve.” But I’m really glad I made it all the way through, because I think it’s an interesting and important work.

Ms. Traister breaks her book down into ten chapters that explore different facets of being an unmarried woman in the U.S., including politics and power, independence, activism, and the reality that it can be very challenging. She doesn’t spend all of her time focusing on well-off white women (as I sort of feared); instead she looks at the different ways being unmarried and a woman intersects with class and race. And these aren’t just young unmarried women – some are older women, some are young mothers, some are older mothers, and some eventually do decide to get married.

The parts that definitely resonated most with me were the sections that covered being in one’s 20s and 30s and single in a large urban area. I spent most of my 20s single, and I lived in NYC. It was mostly fantastic, although I wasn’t actively eschewing dating or staking out a claim as a singleton. I’d go through phases of dating and not dating, enjoying the solitude of being able to wander through Central Park all day on a Saturday and not have to adjust to anyone else’s schedule. And I appreciate that my family never put any pressure on me to meet a man and settle down (it probably helped that they knew I wasn’t having kids). The parts that I didn’t directly relate to – such as discussions of being a single mother, or wanting to go through fertility treatment without a partner – were still very engaging to read.

If you’re interested in some history and some current analysis of how the US treats single women, this is definitely a good choice. Just be prepared for it to take a while to get through. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
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"Today, only twenty percent of Americans are wed by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a 'dramatic reversal.' [This book presents a] portrait of contemporary American life and how we got here, through the lens of the single American woman, covering class, race, [and] sexual orientation, and filled with ... anecdotes from ... contemporary and historical figures"--… (more)

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