Why Independent Women Are Saying No. Would You?

I see these changes in my friends and family and in the clients who come to me for marriage and family counseling.

These changes have taken place, for the most part, under the radar of our awareness but they are changing everything from how we deal with our health to who we elect as our next president.

A recent book review in the New York Times, from which the above picture was taken, begins:

“Throughout America’s history, the start of adult life for women — whatever else it might have been destined to include — had been typically marked by marriage,” Rebecca Traister writes in her new book, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. “Since the late 19th century, the median age of first marriage for women had fluctuated between 20 and 22. This had been the shape, pattern and definition of female life.”

But the times are changing, big time. An article in New York Magazine quotes Ms. Traister’s research:

“In 2009, the proportion of American women who were married dropped below 50 percent. In other words, for the first time in American history, single women (including those who were never married, widowed, divorced, or separated) outnumbered married women. Perhaps even more strikingly, the number of adults younger than 34 who had never married was up to 46 percent, rising 12 percentage points in less than a decade. For women under 30, the likelihood of being married has become astonishingly small: Today, only around 20 percent of Americans ages 18–29 are wed, compared to nearly 60 percent in 1960.”

“It is a radical upheaval, a national reckoning with massive social and political implications,” says Traister. “Across classes, and races, we are seeing a wholesale revision of what female life might entail. We are living through the invention of independent female adulthood as a norm, not an aberration, and the creation of an entirely new population: adult women who are no longer economically, socially, sexually, or reproductively dependent on or defined by the men they marry.”

Why The Video Of A Little Girl Meeting Gal Gadot Is Everything

When this young fan met Gal Gadot (a.k.a. Wonder Woman), she reminded all of us how we need strong feminist role models.

In case you’ve missed it — there is a video of the fabulous Gal Gadot meeting a young Wonder Woman fan, and I have only watched it 4,845 times.

Okay, okay, maybe not THAT many times, but I have hit the repeat button a lot. It’s so heartwarming that I see myself coming home from long, hard days and watching this video to make me feel better. Move over Lil Bub the cat, I’ve found my new feel-good, cure-all Youtube video.

Check it out, and then continue reading below:


I can’t help but grab at my heart when the little girl cries and the actress comforts her, saying in a strong, but gentle, tone that she doesn’t need to cry, because “here we are together.” No Youtube video featuring a kitten, baby, or sloth even competes with how I feel when I watch this one. It’s absolutely precious.

But it’s funny that I should feel so connected to this video as, truthfully, I see interactions like this all the time.

I live in Southern California, smack dab between theme parks where kids can meet their cartoon heros, and Los Angeles, where fans often catch glimpses of their favorite actors, athletes, or musicians.

I used to work at a news station where we had guest celebrities every morning. News writers and interns would stand in the hallway outside the studio, nervously waiting to get a picture with their favorite Boy Meets World or Sex and the City star, and try to act cool when they told their favorite celebrity how much they loved their last movie.

At Disneyland, I’ve also seen kids get similarly excited to see characters like Sleeping Beauty or other Disney princesses. Little girls’ faces light up so bright you’d think the fireworks were early when they get to give Cinderella a hug. It’s absolutely magical.

But somehow, it’s not the same as this little girl meeting Gal Gadot.

little girl meeting gal gadot

Maybe that little girl in the video has the same response, or same amount of joy, as some of the girls meeting Cinderella. Kids are going to get excited when they meet someone they’ve seen in a movie or on TV.

But this interaction affects me differently. It just so happens that this movie star represents so much to me.

When I was growing up, girls were often shown mostly princess movies. Sure, there are some amazing, strong, female cartoon characters. I loved Pocahontas and Anastasia — both featuring headstrong, title-character women. But a lot of the movies I saw and shows I watched after school were about girls or women dreaming of getting married or having a boyfriend, what they were going to wear or what their hair looked like.

The amount of movies we had that featured strong, independent women, or films that even passed the Bechdel test, used to be infrequent. Now, that’s changing.

I’m not sure if Wonder Woman’s massive success was exactly the turning point for everyone — the point where you realize that women can really do anything, that the world is wide open. But I do think that the success of the film acted as a validation of women’s abilities that many people were craving, and it came just when we needed it.

Sure, we’ve had a lot of great films with strong female characters recently: Ghostbusters, the new Star Wars films, Moana, and others. But with Wonder Woman, we got a woman-directed film about a powerful, kind, selfless female superhero with a gross profit that was not only on par with, but often beating, the male-equivalent big-budget superhero films. This was huge.

But it’s so much more than profits and comparisons.

Wonder Woman gave us a female hero that we could associate with strength, kindness, and power.

And if that wasn’t enough, it provided a role model for our kids that they can watch on DVD every day if they want to. I love the idea that kids these days can grow up seeing more movies with women fighting for justice than fighting over a boyfriend.

I’ve seen the eyes of little girls light up when they met their favorite princess. I’ve seen teen girls beg for autographs from their favorite models or glamorous movie stars. But I hardly ever get to see little girls get excited to meet a hero who’s also my idol. A hero that we, as women, and as people, can all look up to.

For more reading on independent women, check out this interesting article that explores what independent women are saying “no” to, or this article about how to be autonomous while in love