We’re looking for a word that captures those positive parts of being single; youth, possibility, optimism, as much sex as you can possibly want with no attachment or responsibility to anyone except yourself. We are looking for a female equivalent of “bachelor.”
Bachelor is a great old word. By the way, it doesn’t imply that one is looking for a relationship. It may even imply the opposite instead. Bachelor doesn’t sound like a temporary status, it sounds like a career-a career choice. “Spinster”, on the other hand, sounds like you got locked in a dungeon, with little choice.
Perhaps not surprisingly, society treats men and women differently.
Bachelor, after all, wasn’t always a positive word. The early meanings had everything to do with being inexperienced. Even after it gained the “unmarried man” meaning, it still carried a negative connotation – it was the male equivalent of spinster.
Today, the word bachelor has taken the funkier connotation of a free-wheeling life of dating (and sleeping) around (and loving it). Today, it is okay – even admirable – to be an unmarried man. Hence the “eligible bachelors” talk. Why has it taken so much longer for the same to be true of women? Is there no single honour in a woman’s singleness?
So, now that single women do not spend their entire lives sewing anymore, “spinster” has become a horrible and mean word that has no real use in modern society. Every time I have heard the word used, it has been a lady using it in reference to herself (“I stayed at home all weekend, I’m such a spinster!”)
Most people just avoid the word altogether. It just doesn’t ring true to a concept that still exists. I am not a genius at feminism, but I do know that there are some women out there who have higher goals in life than getting married to a loaded (or landed) young man.
My recommendation, then, for the woman who is looking for a clean, simple, female equivalent of bachelor is, well, to just use bachelor.
Everyone already has the right associations with “bachelor,” and there’s nothing inherent in the word that means it has to apply to men. Women are, as we understand it today, now capable of being young and single by choice.
These women don’t have to waste time or energy coming up with a catchy alternative to “bachelor”. And if you feel gross about having to borrow a male concept instead of coming up with your own, consider that this wouldn’t be the first time in history that ‘bachelor’ was gender neutral. “Bachelor” has got nothing to do with men, and everything to do with what you’re doing with your love life. Think of it as the reclamation of a term that should have been gender neutral in the first place.
If women want to start using bachelor as a gender-neutral term, it poses a small problem; that of how to separate ‘male’ from bachelor.”
The answer is that this word can change like all other words change; via usage. If you like it, just start applying it in the ways you’d want it to be used. Use it when you want to bask in your bachelorhood; when you tell your friends you want to be a bachelor forever; when you talk about how you wish you had more bachelor friends to go out with… you name it. Use it long enough, and the word will just change, both for you and the people you talk to. The idea is for it to spread naturally.
You don’t need another uprising in the form and shape of the Arab Spring protests because we all know what the word means for starters. All it needs is a little push.
Here is all I’m saying: if we all start using it this way now, we’re going to have thousands more female bachelor parties by 2017. That’s a world I want to live in. Who doesn’t?