Quick Review: An in depth look at the transformation in status, perception, and participation American women have undergone in society through the centuries.
Rebecca Traister had me hooked when she stated, “I always hated it when my heroines got married” within the first few paragraphs. All the Single Ladies is a look at modern women and where we have come from.
All the Single Ladies is a fun yet in depth look at the history of women with a focus on American women. There are tons of statistics, but you won’t drown in them. The statistics serve a purpose to educate but are still interesting. Traister utilizes her own single life as well as friends, colleagues, and others’ experiences as single women. One thing Traister conveys more than anything else is that singledom is incredibly diverse looking different for everyone.
Traister is not anti-marriage, anti-male, anti-woman, or anti-single. When she began her journey writing this book, she was a single woman living in New York City. At some point in her life and book journey, she met a man. She is now a married woman with two daughters.
This has been on my reading list for awhile since I am a single lady. For as excited as I was, I was also a touch tentative. Rebecca Traister is a white woman. There is nothing wrong with this. When looking at a subject, there is the tendency to look at people similar to oneself. I was worried there would be a deficiency of inclusivity and diversity of perspective, socio-economic background, race, etc. I was pleasantly surprised. From the beginning, she states that she sites more white, New Yorker writers than most of us probably know. Throughout the book, she does a good job of talking about all women and not just those she identifies with. She spends a great deal of time discussing the disparity between white women and women of color, poor women and middle class/wealthy women, and more. She explores the fact women of color and poor women have enabled wealthier classes of women “freedoms.” How there is a dependency between the two discrepancies. How white women have lead change by co-opting opinions and actions of women of color.
Traister spends a lot of time emphasizing the complexities of women’s issues.
Nothing Traister wrote was groundbreaking. At least, it wasn’t ground breaking or remotely shocking to me. I spend a lot of my time listening to women’s stories and reading about the history and complexities of women’s status in society. If it’s not something you have spent a great deal of time lingering on, there will be lots of information packed into a fairly short book.
(I have fun finding mistakes, and she had one mistake on page 153: the date should be 1938 but reads 1838. Oops! Only off by 100 years.)
I highly suggest this book. It’s interesting and fun. Personally, it rejuvenated my love of being a single woman in America. I would love to hear Traister’s opinions about women’s status post the 2016 presidential election.
“…these single American women have already shown that they have the power to change America, in ways that make many people extremely uncomfortable.”
“Any time women do anything with their lives that is not in service to others, they are readily perceived as acting perversely.”
“When people call single women selfish for the act of spending on themselves, it’s important to remember that the very acknowledgement that women have selves that exist independently of others, and especially independent of husbands and children, is revolutionary.”
““It takes a lot to qualify a man as selfish”” Amina Sow
“The state must play its role in supporting a population that no longer lives and dies within a family unit.”
“at the heart of independence lies money.”
“When it comes to female liberty and opportunity, history sets an extremely low bar.”
“women’s maternal status is often treated as the singularly interesting thing about them”
Title: All The Single Ladies; Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation
Author: Rebecca Traister
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks