The expectations of women and marriage have certainly changed in the last several decades. Women, and men, are marrying at a significantly older age compared to the age of their parents when they wed. Others are choosing not to marry at all, which was relatively unheard of not many years ago. Yet the media continues to glorify marriage, and many believe that marriage, and marriage at a young age, are vital rites of passage, particularly for women.
Sure, the letter to the editor published in the Daily Princetonian a couple of weeks ago, which urged female college students to find their husbands while in school, received quite a bit of backlash. Nonetheless, many women do feel pressure to find a spouse before they reach their thirties. Thankfully, numerous prominent women have voiced their opinions that marriage should not be rushed, and is perhaps not necessary at all. So if you're beginning to feel pressure to walk down the aisle, or if you're just looking for a little backup on why a wedding isn't in your five-year plan, read what these prominent, and fabulous, women have to say about waiting to wed — or simply not marrying at all.
1. Jane Austen
Born in 1775, Jane Austen never married. This was relatively unheard of in her time — at least the idea of a woman not marrying by choice. Austen was engaged at one point, but broke the engagement off just several hours after the proposal. Many credit her novel, Emma, with demonstrating that unmarried women can still lead happy, fulfilled lives (though Emma eventually does marry), and Austen seemed to take this view to heart. In a letter to her niece in 1814, she wrote "Anything is preferred or endured rather than marrying without Affection."
2. Cameron Diaz
The 40-year-old actress has had several high-profile relationships, with the likes of Jared Leto (to whom she was briefly engaged), Justin Timberlake, and A-Rod, but has never wed.
As she says, "I think people get freaked out about getting married and spending 20 or 30 years sleeping with the same person but if that's the case, don't do it. Have someone for five years and another person for another five years."
3. Diane Keaton
Like Diaz, Keaton has dated several Hollywood men but has never married. "I’m attracted to men, and I love playing around with them. But a life shared together? That’s a different world," she says. "I think you have to be somebody who can compromise and be realistic. I could never do it. Ever."
Nonetheless, having no partner has not stopped the actress from being a mother; she has adopted two children. After adopting her son, Duke, in 2001, Keaton claimed, "I don’t think that because I’m not married it’s made my life any less. That old-maid myth is garbage."
4. Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was a revolutionary during her time, not only because she never married but also because she was a leader in the fight for women's rights. She was a strong believer in women being their own protectors, saying, "I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand."
She once again weighed in on marriage, stating, "I can never understand why intelligent girls should want to marry fools just to get married. Many are willing to do so. But I am not."
5. Tyra Banks
Tyra Banks is a model turned actress turned author turned TV personality, and she has never depended on a man. Banks credits her mother for her independence. As she says, "My mom never taught me to be waiting for some prince on a white horse to swipe me off my feet."
6. Sarah Silverman
The famed female comedian has had several partners, but has never wed, and she is clearly aware of the marriage double standard.
Back in November, she tweeted, "When a woman doesn't wanna get married she's a weirdo, when a man doesn't wanna get married he's George Clooney."
7. Louisa May Alcott
Alcott's feisty character Jo March in Little Women certainly didn't settle for marriage in order to find financial security and neither did Alcott, who claimed, "I love luxury, but freedom and independence better."
In a journal entry upon visiting her recently-married sister's home, Alcott described it as "Very sweet and pretty, but I’d rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe."