never married, over forty, a little bitter


Stigmas, stereotypes, and conflicting messages abound for women living in today’s world. For women caught in these seemingly impossible conflicts, it takes on the feel of being trapped in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t world. Kathleen Hall Jamieson aptly describes this phenomenon in her 1995 book, Beyond the Double Bind, by opening with a reference to the witch trials of the 1600s. She writes, “In 1631, in Cautio Criminalis, Julius Friedrich Spee identified one no win situation in which prosecutors placed women accused of witchcraft. The suspect witch was submerged in a pond. If she drowned, she deserved to; if she didn’t, she was a witch. In the first case, god was revealing her nature; in the second, the devil.” Hall Jamieson points out that centuries later, “the penalties are disdain and financial loss, not death, and the sanctions social, not theological, but it can still be hazardous for a woman to venture out beyond her ‘proper sphere.'”


“Power is being told you’re not loved and not being destroyed by it.”
— Madonna


I’ve never been interested in dating a man with children; I’ve written on here before that I don’t think we’d be able to relate to each other.

That belief has hugely limited my pool of available partners, of course, but after reading Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin, I think I dodged a bullet. According to Martin, not only do stepmothers have it much tougher than stepfathers, but childless stepmothers tend to have it the toughest of all. I can’t imagine coping with all the tension that seems endemic to the role.

Although Martin eventually found her footing with her husband and stepkids, the reviews of the book on Goodreads confirm that stepmotherhood is no walk in the park.

global relations

“The institution of marriage basically benefits men, and when women are hurt, this institution doesn’t protect our rights,” a young woman in Beijing recently told me. “The most rational choice is to stay single.”