Originally published on Mic.com – please click over to see the graphics!
If there is one thing all single women know, it’s that nothing ruins your day faster than the question, “So why aren’t you dating anyone?”
More people today are single than ever before: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just over half of American adults are unmarried. And in 2006, the Pew Research Center found that among singles, 55% say they are neither cohabiting nor looking for a relationship. Despite what conventional wisdom might say, those singles are doing pretty well: Recent research — and plenty of anecdotal evidence — has shown that unmarried people with solid social support are just as satisfied as married people.
But that shouldn’t even matter. Some single women would love to be in a relationship, while some are totally happy to remain unattached. Either way, women who happen to be single shouldn’t face the stigmas they do. The only person who gets to pressure and question a woman about her love life is the woman herself.
Here are 13 women who fired back when faced with the question of singlehood.
1. Taylor Swift: “I just want to have as many adventures as possible.”
“I used to think it was important to find a boyfriend. But I don’t feel that it is now. I just want to have as much fun and as many adventures as possible.”
After gaining a reputation as a serial dater, Taylor Swift decided to take a break from boys and embrace her singledom. As she fills her life with friends and work, she says she’s never been happier, and told the Telegraphthat she’s not sure when a relationship will be able to fit into her new world – but that’s OK.
2. Diane Keaton: “That old maid myth is garbage.”
“I remember when I was young I honestly believed in some ridiculous way that you would find someone who would be the person you lived with until you died. I don’t think that because I’m not married it’s made my life any less. That old maid myth is garbage.”
Diane Keaton wants to kill the stereotype of the old spinster once and for all. The actress has famously never married, and in 2001, according to WENN, she challenged the idealism of “soul mates” and the sexist assumption that single women over a certain age live lesser lives than their married counterparts.
3. Jennifer Lopez: “I gotta be whole on my own first.”
“I don’t need anybody else. I want somebody else…but I gotta be happy and whole on my own first. I gotta heal from things. You gotta give yourself time and space… to grow and to realize things about yourself, to become your own best friend, to love yourself.”
High-profile romances with Ben Affleck and Marc Anthony taught Jennifer Lopez that before she can be happy in a relationship, she has to be happy with herself as an individual. She told Arianna Huffington on HuffPost Live in 2014 that after heartbreak, it’s important to learn that you are enough, even without a partner. Period.
4. Mindy Kaling: “I don’t need anyone to take care of all my needs and desires.”
“I don’t need marriage. I don’t need anyone to take care of all my needs and desires. I can take care of them myself now.”
It’s no secret that Mindy Kaling loves dating (although she’s not a fan of one-night stands). But as she told Good Housekeeping this year, she’s found a new confidence and is no longer obsessed with finding “the one.”
5. Rashida Jones: “I actually don’t feel like I’m some sort of loser.”
“I had the full princess fantasy: the white horse, the whole being saved from my life, which is ridiculous. What do I want to be saved from? My life’s great! But it’s just this weird thing that’s been hammered into my head culturally: that’s the only way to succeed, that’s the only thing that counts for a woman. I’m happy, but the fact that I’m not married and don’t have kids – it’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I actually am OK with that, where I actually don’t feel like I’m some sort of loser.”
After being raised on a diet of Disney movies, what woman hasn’t bought into the fantasy of the princess waiting for her prince? Rashida Jones, who has written about feminism and relationships for Glamour, revealed to theGuardian in 2014 that she’s finally learned to not feel like she’s failed her “princess” destiny for remaining single.
6. Shailene Woodley: “I became my own best friend.”
“My entire life, I felt like I had to depend on others for entertainment and depend on external experience in order to laugh and find things really funny. I became my own best friend. That was the most beautiful realization I had during that whole period.”
Shailene Woodley has questioned whether people are even capable of monogamy, and in 2014 revealed to the Huffington Post that after she and her first boyfriend broke up, she took time off from dating. Like many single women have realized, Woodley said she had more fun with herself and seeking her own amusement than she ever had relying on another person.
7. Jennifer Aniston: “There is nothing you can control about love.”
“I don’t like girls whining and complaining about wanting a man! I never liked Sex and the City, the kind of thing where women only feel empowered once they find The Man. It is just not up my alley. I don’t believe in it. There is nothing you can control about love.”
Jennifer Aniston has been in a relationship with Justin Theroux since 2011, but back in 2008, she was recently divorced when she opened up to Vogue about her rom-com He’s Just Not That Into You. Aniston revealed that she actually wasn’t thrilled with the film’s treatment (and society’s treatment at large) of singledom, and that in fact too much focus on finding a partner is besides the point. There are just some things you can’t control.
8. Julie Delpy: “Women throw themselves into romance because they’re afraid of being single.”
”Too many women throw themselves into romance because they’re afraid of being single, then start making compromises and losing their identity. I won’t do that.”
Research has shown that the fear of being alone may drive some people to stay in unfulfilling relationships, a fear Before Midnight actress Julie Delpy is all too aware of. In 1997, she told the San Jose Mercury News that her freedom and independence are more important to her than any relationship.
9. Joan Rivers: “A man, he’s 90 years old, he’s not married — he’s a catch!”
“A girl, you’re 30 years old, you’re not married — you’re an old maid. A man, he’s 90 years old, he’s not married — he’s a catch.”
Joan Rivers: standing up for the single girl since 1967. In a classic bit from her appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Rivers brilliantly skewered the double standard between single women and single men, and how much tougher it is for a woman to find love after a certain age — when it shouldn’t be.
10. Rihanna: “I don’t have a lot of time to offer for a man right now.”
“I don’t have a lot of time to offer for a man right now… It’s not even fair to pull anybody into this right now, so he would have to be willing to tolerate my schedule right now, if he’s man enough to do that.”
In a recent interview with UK Screen, Rihanna echoed the thoughts of millions of career-focused women who refuse to give up their passions for a relationship. Props to Rihanna for owning the fact that her partner would have to accommodate to her schedule, not the other way around.
11. Mae Whitman: “The only time I’m ever unhappy … is when I see one of those silverfish things.”
“The only time I’m ever unhappy being single is when I see one of those silverfish things in the house.”
Real talk: Being single rocks. You can come and go as you please, eat cereal for dinner and stay in bed with Netflix free of judgment. Actress Mae Whitman, who has admitted that she really enjoys being alone, spoke for single women everywhere when she tweeted the only (small) downside to not having a partner – but you can get a good flyswatter, right?
12. Emilia Clarke: “It’s in our nature to nurture someone else … at the expense of ourselves.”
“People keep asking me who I’m dating right now and the truth is… wait for [it]… no one. And that’s OK. I’m figuring out a lot of stuff right now. I think as a woman it’s in our nature to nurture someone else. Sometimes at the expense of ourselves.”
With 4 in 10 American households now including a mother who is the primary breadwinner, and 83% of women doing housework every day (compared to 65% of men), it’s no surprise that women crave alone time they often don’t have (and feel guilty about wanting). Being single can allow you to indulge in some much-needed “me” time, which Emilia Clarke told InStyle UK is one of the main reasons she’s flying solo – and not feeling ashamed or guilty about it.
13. Irina Dunn: “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
“A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.”
Though commonly attributed to Gloria Steinem, this witty analogy was actually said by Australian writer Irina Dunn, who scribbled it on the backs of two toilet stalls in 1970. Modest beginnings but powerful beyond all expectations — fitting for a quote that serves as an awesome battle cry for women everywhere.