Part One: On Single Women and Buying Homes. . . and Sperm
A thoughtful reader, Annie, wrote to respond to my remarks on the Neil Cavuto show about the increasing percentages of single women buying homes. Just to recap: I was arguing in counterpoint to the “girl power” perspective which sees this as an unmitigated positive expansion of “the American Dream” (Cavuto’s comment). I wanted to argue that it is no criticism of the individual woman, like Annie, who buys a home as a single woman, but that we should be paying attention to the underlying social forces at work here: delayed marriage for more women (which leads to postponing childbearing into the thirties), and larger percentages of women who never marry.
But Annie thought this sounded a bit like the “smug marrieds” of Bridget Jones. Ouch. Not exactly what I was aiming for! Here’s Annie’s remarks:
Charmaine, I enjoy reading your blog and think you are a great advocate for life and the family, but I must disagree wholeheartedly with your comments on the Cavuto show
I say this as a staunchly prolife, profamily single woman who proudly owns her own home (and is glad for the tax benefits alone). It is unsound to rent for years on end while waiting for a Mr. Right who may never come along. Such women may find themselves far worse off than if they had bought sooner, and having some financial wisdom makes a woman a better marriage partner, not worse. . .
. . .Perhaps this is not what you meant, Charmaine, but I think your comments were reminiscent of the smug marrieds despised by Bridget Jones. Do women generally want to be 30, single, and a homeowner? Probably not (and that includes yours truly), but it beats being 35 or 40 and single and having wasted thousands of dollars on rent that could have been building a nest egg for her future family, retirement, or whatever. Home ownership and being profamily are not mutually exclusive, even for never-married singles. I would even argue that having good money management skills (e.g. investing in a home as appropriate) is a profamily atribuute, not antifamily.
If you want a better angle for your comments, you could comment on today’s Post piece on the 11 single women who have the same sperm donor for their children. Now that, in my view, is a legitimate target for antifamily behavior on the part of single people – that is, those who set out to bring fatherless or motherless children into the world without regard to the child’s best interests (having two parents).
Hope you don’t mind my providing a different point of view. Thanks. Annie
No, don’t mind the different viewpoint at all. In fact, I’m not sure it’s really a different view at all. I agree with your argument, Annie. If I were single, and could afford it, I might buy a home. And I have quite a few friends who have done so and I’m happy for them.
The really central point of my argument is that the home-buying isn’t the real issue — it hides the larger point. And I do still think that my broader argument is a valid one: we need to look at the societal forces at work that are making it more difficult for larger percentages of women to find suitable mates to settle down with in their twenties.
As to the sperm donor story. . . you’re right there, too. That’s worth it’s own entry. Next up. In Part Two.
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We are extending adolescence further and further. As economic necessity and functional necessity make marriage less of a requirement and more of an option, it gets postponed. And selfishness reigns. But I don’t think that marriage and responsbility are dead, yet. A life companion is a good thing.