The World Is Afraid Of The Single Woman

afraid of the single woman
Photo by Alexander Jawfox

I just finished reading an amazing book called The Last Of The Moon Girls, and there was a line right at the end that struck a chord with me:

The world has always been afraid of a singular woman. As it is of most powerful things.

Barbara Davis

These were the words penned from a Grandmother to her Granddaughter, in a letter after her passing.

As the title suggests, the family were a line of strong women; witches, who continued to pass down their magic and ritual work to the next daughter. They were discouraged from marrying, as to not dilute their craft, or lose their tradition.

This is something I’ve never personally witnessed or heard of: a woman actively encouraged to remain single.

Certainly not in my own life, and not in the lives of any women I know.

The world over appears to be afraid of the single woman.

Girls continue to be married off, when they’re not even legally able to have sex yet, to men they’ve never even met; sometimes for money, and other times under the pretences of religion.

And although the rest of us are lucky not to face extreme circumstances like that, the pressure to lose our single status still hangs heavily in the air. We have choices and freedom, although, are we really free and making choices of our own?

My mother tried to rush me into settling down and having kids. At 24, she told me it was already too late, and that I was likely to be left on the shelf.

She was no doubt repeating what her mother had said to her twenty years earlier. And even though following her mother’s advice led to her finding herself living a life she never truly wanted; she couldn’t help but try and continue that vicious cycle with me.

She forgot that I had watched her live out her mistakes my whole life. Marrying a man she never truly loved. Continuing to stay in an unhappy marriage out of fear of standing on her own feet. Devoting all her time and energy to her kids, and losing who she really was.

She forgot I wasn’t her. I wouldn’t allow myself to live a life that pleased others. And no matter how much I was poked or prodded or ridiculed, I was always going to go my own way; do my own thing. Always.

You may share similar experiences when it comes to relationships, marriage, and motherhood. Maybe yours look more like my mum’s than my own; I can’t say for sure.

Regardless, there is always this pressure we feel as women to lose our single status as quickly as we can. A weight resting heavily on our shoulders, reminding us we must find a man, settle down, and have children; all before the sand in the imaginary egg-timer runs out.

And if you don’t? If you choose to remain a singular, childless woman? The world looks down on you. The world pities you. You are judged, ridiculed, and cast aside by society. Just as the witches were all those years ago.

And you might think this is because there’s genuinely something wrong with you. Society might have done such a good number on you (as they did with me) that you truly believe you’re living a half life; one void of the joys and abundance of being a woman.

But there is nothing wrong with you.

The truth is, the world is afraid of the single woman.

One who is not kept or tamed by a man. A woman who roams the world, wild and free, answering to no one but her divine self. A woman who adorns her body how she wants; who says yes and no and changes her mind as she pleases. A woman who prioritises her own needs and pleasure, and will ask for what she wants in bed. A woman who knows just how fucking powerful she is, and how fucking powerful women have always been.

This is the danger of a single woman. She poses a threat to the way things have been for the past 2000 years. And it’s her power that people are afraid of. So they do their best to keep her from it.

To keep her living small, and hushed, and in the shadows of a man. Any man, it doesn’t really matter, so long as she’s tied down and she reproduces.

But you were not born to live in the shadows. You were not born to be one half of a whole. And your worth is not measured by the diamond ring on your finger, or the baby nestled in your arms.

So if you’re single, and you feel pressure or shame or fear, it most likely does not belong to you.

It is the world who is afraid of the single woman. And this fear, this shame, and this pressure is not yours to carry.

It originated thousands of years ago, when a group of people decided that a woman’s power needed to be kept from her, and tightly controlled.

And slowly, over time, your connection to your power was severed.

But it’s still there. Your power is still there, roaring inside you, waiting for you to rightly reclaim it.

So don’t rush to say goodbye to single life, or walk down the aisle, or become a mother. Take your time with all of these things. If you want them, I mean, if you truly want them when you look into the depths of your soul, then invite them in.

But if you don’t? Let them melt away. Give yourself permission to say thank you, but no thank you, this is not meant for me.

Let go of the fear, the shame, and all the pressure. And get comfortable with the world being afraid of you, and the power of a single woman.

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