Single Women: So What If They’re Over Fifty? January 5, 2013Posted by Onely in As If!, STFU, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: ageism, cougar, demeaning terms for singles, demeaning terms for women, lookism, looksism, sexism, singles blog, singles sexism, singlism, SMOFTY, spinster stereotype, SWOFTY
So apparently now there is yet another term to describe women who behave in a certain way: Before it was Cougar, meaning an older woman who dates younger men (implication: these women must be preying on younger men, because why would the guys be attracted them of their own accord?) . Now according to this article flagged by our reader Iolanda, as well as other articles, we have SWOFTY. This means a single woman over fifty.
Copious readers, is this offensive or empowering to women, and particularly to single women? I say offensive, and here’s why:
Where is the term for single men over fifty? A Google search for SMOFTY returned the result: Did you mean SWOFTY? . . . Um, no, sigh.
And there’s more: The term SWOFTY markets itself as a badge of honor for single women, but really it objectifies and classifies women in a three-for-one deal: according to their relationship status, gender, and age. It’s the same old sexism, singlism, and ageism that has been going on in most cultures since forever, just re-labelled. Even the fact that we get surprised by the idea that single women over fifty can be vibrant and happy — so surprised that we have to give them a name — shows just how ingrained the stereotype of the drab spinster is. It’s a stereotype we need to talk in full adult words about, not cutesy acronyms that keep reminding people how the existence of happy single older women is surprising.
And no, SWOFTY does not do anything to increase the dialogue about or dismantle the spinster stereotype — at least not until single men over fifty are also deemed surprising enough to need an acronym. Until then, I say it just perpetuates the stereotype. Moreover, and worse, for a woman to “earn” the SWOFTY label, she usually has to be conventionally attractive. The actress/models Christie Brinkley and Susan Sarandon are presented in the media as stellar examples of SWOFTYs. So our three-for-one deal actually becomes a four-for-one: sexism, singlism, ageism, and looksism.
Doesn’t it seem ridiculous to come up with acronyms for the “kinds” of people listed? Yes. So that’s why, Copious Readers, I’m asking you to come up with some cutesy, demeaning terms for the below statuses:
Married woman/man who is youngish
Married woman/man who is oldish
Married man who is older than his partner
Non-married coupled person who is youngish
Non-married coupled person who is oldish
Non-married coupled man who is older than his partner
Photo credit: Fotopedia