George Clooney Is a Bachelor, Kim Kardashian Is a Spinster

It’s official. As Kim Kardashian approaches her 30th birthday in October, she is joining the ranks of women such as Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson: modern-day spinsters. There’s no comparable expression for men, such as 49-year-old unmarried George Clooney, who has traipsed around the globe parading a rotating bevvy of babes. Oh wait, he’s a bachelor.

As Jessica Valenti writes in He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double-Standards Every Woman Should Know:

They’re bachelors, with cool apartments and the freedom to do whatever they want without judgment. Sure, they may catch occasional shit from their mother about “finding the right girl,” but for the most part they’re respected. Single women, on the other hand–especially single women who have the gall to be over thirty–we’re old maids. Spinsters. Desperate to be Bridezillas and moms. There’s no such thing as a happy single  woman. We’re all just wives-in-training or crazy cat ladies. There’s something about unmarried women that society just doesn’t like. That’s why the media is constantly telling us how miserable single women are.

Like celebutante-turned-mega-brand Kardashian. In addition to the standard hoopla about the reality star’s cleavage, her famous curves or her appearance at a variety of red-carpet events, the media has increasingly honed in on her personal status, which mere months ago when from “in a relationship” to “single” after she and football star Reggie Bush called off their on-again, off-again relationship.

Take last month’s group chat with George Lopez (sitting in for Larry King) with most of the major players in the Kardashian-Jenner clan. Naturally, most of the interview questions were directed at Kim, and they kept swinging back to her single status. Lopez made comparisons to Kim’s sisters– Khloe, who married Lakers star Lamar Odom, and Kourtney, who recent gave birth to a child–hoping that she’d admit pangs of jealousy. Is it weird to be the only unattached sister? Is she lonely? Didn’t she think she’d be married by now? Did she want to get married? Blah, blah, blah.

Since ex-husband Brad Pitt paired up with Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston has also been painted as the unlucky-in-love, pathetic-ex envious of Jolie’s fecundity and subsequent hold on Brad. Similarly, following Jessica Simpson’s divorce and subsequent failed relationships, tabloid stories focused on her supposed jealousy of sister Ashlee’s marriage, baby and sleek physique.

In the interview with Lopez, Kardashian didn’t take the bait. She said that while she imagined herself married with children by 30–and still wants that someday–her single status has given her the ability to achieve things she dreamed of. Still, Kardashian is not framed as an powerful, independent woman able to make conscious decisions about her own life, but as desperate and unable to make wise choices. There must be something wrong with a woman if she’s over 30 and single.

Interestingly enough, Kardashian, Aniston and Simpson have all been previously married. Given this, one would logically assume, as my friend Theresa puts it, that “you can’t go back to being a spinster, just like you can’t go back to being a virgin.” Well, apparently, in our culture you can do both. Meanwhile, eternal bachelor George Clooney goes about his single-man business with few questions–because he’s independent, she’s pathetic.

While I have been quite vocal about my issues with Kardashian’s rise to fame, her incessant focus on her body and her mixed message of empowerment while hawking diet pills and seeking cosmetic surgery, I don’t condone the media’s increasing focus on her relationship status and the countless double-standards contained therein. Despite women’s increasing numbers in education and the work force, women are still viewed as “naturally” interested in relationships, especially the heterosexual kind that culminate in marriage and children. Ultimately he’s gonna be a success, she’s gonna be a stay-at-home-mom. In fact, Kim’s focus on her work is presented as one of the major obstacles to finding true love.

Kim’s “pickiness” is also cited as a detriment to obtaining the picture-perfect fairytale romance. If she didn’t set the bar so high, she might finally find a mate. I don’t hear anyone chastising “hot guys” for only dating “hot women. ” There’s a big, fat double-standard when it comes to physical attractiveness and gender. I mean, really, when do men “date down”? Why should Kim have to settle?

I don’t tout Kim as a feminist role model, I don’t think her decision to remain single and focus on her career is a political statement and I don’t see her pointing out the double-standards–but I’m happy to do so.

Photos of Kim Kardashian and a waxy George Clooney from Flickr.com users Kalumba2009 and cliff1066 through Creative Commons License 2.0

Comments

  1. Sexism never ceases to exist no matter what age you turn these days. There are so many double standards for men and women today, but the idea that a many with many sexual partners can go on forever and continue gaining ‘swagger,’ but an unmarried woman who is sexually experienced and in her thirties is deemed washed up and used up.
    Patriarchy tells women that once they hit a certain age they become undesirable and unlovable, unfortunately we see this a lot in our daily lives—men leaving their wives for younger women or having affairs with younger women, its all the same. But, if a woman is found having an affair with a younger man, or after a divorces remarries a younger man, it is seen as a fraud or a fetish, but not taken seriously. But men, well, they’re just being men.
    This is obviously the reason that plastic surgery is one of the biggest industries in the world and the market is overwhelmingly female. I find the popularity of vaginal reconstruction to be the most depressing and ludicrous. I’ve seen ads that say it will restore the pleasure for both the man and the woman, but this is clearly all for the man. I cannot understand how the same women who would pay for a vaginal reconstruction would also critic the female circumcision done in parts of Africa and the Middle East, saying, ‘what they do over there is just…inhumane!’ without even realizing the deep internalized reasons they are consciously choosing to cut up their own vaginas.

  2. I completely agree with your article, that Kim Kardashian is a walking contradiction. She is either loved or hated. I personally pity her a little, but I am certain she finds solace in her media hungry world, surrounded by the nicest cars and expensive clothes around her. It brings me a bit of comfort knowing that whether you are famous like, Jennifer Aniston, or not, like me, that our patriarchal society does not discriminate based on social standing. When I hit my late twenties my mom finally gave up on me and lessened her pressure that I marry! I was the talk of my maternal family. “Oh, poor Rosa, she is a spinster… “Words spoken as if I was not in the room. I joked with my friends, that many a night, I know my mom would pray and pray that I would find a husband. She doesn’t know that her prayers were answered many times over. I was proposed to 3 times and I said no to all 3. Decisions to this day I do not regret. Part of me did it to prove a point to my mother and the other part is because in all honesty, I wasn’t in love. I didn’t see a forever in my life with these men. I think Kim Kardashian, gave in to the pressures of our patriarchal society. I have not watched the Kardashian show in over 2 years, but when I did watch, her family was patriarchal. Even through her mother Kris is very strong and a business woman, she raised her daughters just as she was raised. Find a husband, have kids and run your home. My family sees how happy I am, being unmarried. Now, they want me to have a child even if I do it alone. I will never live up to their expectations, so I continue making my own road. There are more women now, choosing to stay single. Now whenever I visit my mother’s hometown (in Guadalajara, Mexico) the older ladies ask me if I have a suitor. I proudly say, that I am happy alone. I share with them a wise old quote: “Mejor solo que mal acompañada.” (“Better alone than with bad company”) These wise old ladies who, some had horrible husbands that beat them and others, whose husbands were womanizers, quickly agree with me and the subject is changed. They weren’t able to change their lives or speak up for themselves, but I can. By seeing a single woman it changes their perception and they are more open-minded not only with their own daughters, but their grand-daughters.

  3. Jasmin Lavi says:

    This article points out the sexual double standard that we all witness daily. In our society, people are forced to fit into boxes that many of them don’t belong in. People are criticized when carrying personality traits that aren’t included in these boxes and become pariahs. The expected norms are hurting everyone and we need to find a way to break open these boxes. The article examines the idea of spinster vs. bachelor that is presented in our media and how it results in negative labels for women and puts men in a positive light. A woman being labeled for their marital status causes all their life accomplishments and successes to be thrown out the window. We assume so much about these women based on their marital status! This is so wrong. We see this type of sexual double standard all the time. Women are constantly trashed for straying away from the idea that a woman should be a virgin and settle down young to become a housewife. While men are cheered on for having multiple sex partners and referred to as bachelors when not settling down. Men are allowed to be sexual, whereas women have to deal with negative sanctions if being anything over sexy. This causes women to be pressured into this box where all women are settled before 30 and have kids that are their sole priority. A woman is seen as daring if she wants to pursue her career and hold off on building a family. Men and women should be able to choose what they want to do with their lives without the outline of a box pressuring them to fit in with the cultural norms.

  4. Ariel M says:

    I don’t really follow the celeb life much, but the media knows how to leave an impression when it comes to Kim Kardashian. George Clooney for an old unmarried person sleeping with many babes through his life is not looked down upon. Kim Kardashian, the one celebrity who made a porno with Ray J is looked down and criticized only because she’s a woman in her 30s. Has a past history of having a marriage with Brooklyn Nets player Kris Humphries that lasted no longer than 72 days; with a child named North West and in a relationship with Kanye West who is most likely not the father of the child for all we know. I cannot say I admire Kim Kardashian as a public figure. The media makes her look bad and only an object of beauty with how well she dresses up she with her nice curvy body, cleavage, and nice butt showing at all times. On the other hand, George Clooney is admirable despite of his relationship status and being a man. When both sides are approached, men are supported for their mingling with other women and their single status, while women are promoted for working their way into a marital status and bear children. Why can’t it be the other way around? My guess is society does not appreciate single moms as much as bearing children as a happy heterosexual married couple.

  5. Pouya G. says:

    There is an apparent double standard in our society. Men can be single into their 30s while women are shamed into being single into such an age. Men and women should be together out of love, not because their biological clock is ticking. Though Kim Kardashian rose to fame by marketing her body, she should not be shamed for the same reason George Clooney is praised. Women are taught to fear age, and to fear any sign of it. Men are free from such fear and thus do not have to feel any pressure to place any time and energy into finding a partner, having kids, or maintaining their physical youth. This amount of strain and pressure put on women takes away so much from their potential to achieve in every other aspect of their lives. This obsession with age adds to the obsession with beauty and maintaining youth, because apparently once a woman hits 30, her life is over. I do not think it is okay for women to be the only ones under pressure for finding the right one.

  6. Matthew S says:

    This article opened my eyes to the double standard of single women and single men. I had never really thought about how men are celebrated for being single and independent while women are looked down upon for not being married at an early age. I believe that neither one of these situations for men and women should be celebrated or looked down upon. Men and women should all be able to live their own lives the way they want to live it, whether that be with a spouse or being a bachelor or bachelorette for life. There should be no set way that people should be encouraged to lead their lives. Everyone is different in what they prefer to do with their own lives and no one should think less of themselves for being past 30 and unmarried. People just need to do what brings them personal happiness.

  7. Daniella S says:

    There is an obvious double standard in our society. First of all, the expected marriage age for each gender is way off, men in their early 30s are the perfect marriage age while women who reach thirty automatically are at the end of the road. As if the clock struck 12 and they are no longer in a beautiful dress but back into their mundane clothes and unfit for marriage. One thing I do not agree with this article is the example of Kim Kardashian who’s sole reason for fame is her sex tape. I do not see her as a depressed single woman, maybe because she is now married with a child, but even before, the pressures put on her and any other single woman are emphasized more than their accomplishments. While George Clooney is enjoying his middle aged fun and is seen as being a bachelor, probably because every woman would love to date him, which I believe would be the difference between him and Kim Kardashian. Either way, the double standard makes no sense in todays society.

  8. Daniel Y. says:

    I tend not to follow celebrities and what goes on in their daily lives mainly because I know its all bogus but even I who don’t bother with this crap knows everything that has to do with Kim Kardashian and George Clooney. What I don’t understand is the double standard that is taking place here. Why is it that men are applauded when they are 50, not married, and sleeping with a new girl every night but if a woman is not married by age 30 then there is something wrong with her? I think the way this is set up is a horrible example for our young boys and girls to look at. Women should not be slut shamed if they have not found the one yet and men should not take pride in being a bachelor at age 50. This double standard is only hurting our progress to end patriarchy in our society.

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