History Main / MaidenAunt

28th Nov '16 6:12:40 PM N1KF
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Of course, many real-life women remained unmarried for reasons other than the one stated above. Some were lesbians, some were asexual, some preferred a career to marriage, some gave up the chance of marriage to look after aging parents, and some simply didn't want the bother of a husband and family. In fiction, though, they tend to be prudish, sexless conservatives who have never worked for a living. Some are kindly and sweet, some are bitter and angry, some are in a {{Cloudcuckooland}}. Often played straight in mysteries and for laughs in comedies. There aren't many subversions out there--younger audiences are usually {{squick}}ed by any hint of sexuality in an older woman. A few characters fit this trope even though they aren't strictly speaking maidens.

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Of course, many real-life women remained unmarried for reasons other than the one stated above. Some were lesbians, some were asexual, {{asexual}}, some preferred a career to marriage, some gave up the chance of marriage to look after aging parents, and some simply didn't want the bother of a husband and family. In fiction, though, they tend to be prudish, sexless conservatives who have never worked for a living. Some are kindly and sweet, some are bitter and angry, some are in a {{Cloudcuckooland}}. Often played straight in mysteries and for laughs in comedies. There aren't many subversions out there--younger audiences are usually {{squick}}ed by any hint of sexuality in an older woman. A few characters fit this trope even though they aren't strictly speaking maidens.



* ''Comicbook/{{Spider-Man}}'': Aunt May fits parts of this trope, though she's a widow and went back to dating after Uncle Ben died. She was with [[ComicBook/TheAvengers Edwin Jarvis]] for a while, but then [[ComicBook/SecretInvasion it turns out]] that ''that'' Jarvis ''[[TheMole ain't]]'' Jarvis. You're a Parker, May--your love life's gonna be chaos, it's the law! She's more of a Maiden Aunt in the newspaper comics than in the comic books.

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* ''Comicbook/{{Spider-Man}}'': ''Comicbook/SpiderMan'': Aunt May fits parts of this trope, though she's a widow and went back to dating after Uncle Ben died. She was with [[ComicBook/TheAvengers Edwin Jarvis]] for a while, but then [[ComicBook/SecretInvasion it turns out]] that ''that'' Jarvis ''[[TheMole ain't]]'' Jarvis. You're a Parker, May--your love life's gonna be chaos, it's the law! She's more of a Maiden Aunt in the newspaper comics than in the comic books.
6th Nov '16 11:47:24 AM nombretomado
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* When [[ItsaWonderfulLife George Bailey]] gets the chance to find out how the world would have turned out if he'd never been born, he finds that his wife Mary had become a bitter, unhappy Maiden Aunt.

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* When [[ItsaWonderfulLife [[Film/ItsAWonderfulLife George Bailey]] gets the chance to find out how the world would have turned out if he'd never been born, he finds that his wife Mary had become a bitter, unhappy Maiden Aunt.
30th Oct '16 11:54:07 AM Anddrix
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* Tim Burton's ''Film/AliceInWonderland'' had Aunt Imogen. She wasn't so much "single" as "engaged to a prince who doesn't exist".

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* Tim Burton's ''Film/AliceInWonderland'' ''Film/AliceInWonderland2010'' had Aunt Imogen. She wasn't so much "single" as "engaged to a prince who doesn't exist".
2nd Sep '16 9:06:11 AM GlitteringFlowers
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* Aunt Peace and Aunt Plenty in Louisa May Alcott's ''Literature/EightCousins'' and ''Rose in Bloom''.

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* Aunt Aunta Peace and Aunt Plenty in Louisa May Alcott's ''Literature/EightCousins'' and ''Rose in Bloom''.Bloom'' are this. It's never explained why Plenty didn't marry, but it's explained that Peace was WidowedAtTheWedding and [[TheMourningAfter she never recovered from ther shock.]]
6th Jul '16 1:50:56 PM technix
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* Alluded to in an episode of ''Series/FullerHouse''. Stephanie, seeing both DJ and Kimmy sporting a post-kiss goofy grin while herself sorting socks, comments with this trope almost verbatim.

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* Alluded to in an episode of ''Series/FullerHouse''. Stephanie, seeing both DJ and Kimmy sporting a post-kiss goofy grin while herself sorting socks, comments with this trope almost verbatim. Although she being 35 is in no way or shape being old, and [[ReallyGetsAround she is definitely not a maiden]], just haven't been married yet.
6th Jul '16 1:47:57 PM technix
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to:

* Alluded to in an episode of ''Series/FullerHouse''. Stephanie, seeing both DJ and Kimmy sporting a post-kiss goofy grin while herself sorting socks, comments with this trope almost verbatim.
--> '''Stephanie Tanner:''' Oh no, I am becoming the spinster aunt.
10th Jun '16 7:14:14 PM Doug86
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They were especially thick on the ground in the US in the 1900-1930 period and in the Commonwealth in the 1950-1980 period--these were the women whose potential husbands died in the US Civil War and in WorldWarI, respectively. In the 1920s they were often known as "Victorian aunts", because they had grown up in (and for the most part never quite left) the Victorian era. Often also called "spinsters" and "{{old maid}}s", although the latter term is usually discredited as offensive nowadays. If you were born in TheSixties you may remember how incredibly common they were, both in fiction and in RealLife.

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They were especially thick on the ground in the US in the 1900-1930 period and in the Commonwealth in the 1950-1980 period--these were the women whose potential husbands died in the US Civil War and in WorldWarI, UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, respectively. In the 1920s they were often known as "Victorian aunts", because they had grown up in (and for the most part never quite left) the Victorian era. Often also called "spinsters" and "{{old maid}}s", although the latter term is usually discredited as offensive nowadays. If you were born in TheSixties you may remember how incredibly common they were, both in fiction and in RealLife.
5th Jun '16 6:39:59 PM MagBas
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Not quite a DeadHorseTrope, but much less common these days than twenty or thirty years ago for various reasons. Can have UnfortunateImplications if a writer decides that "not having married a man" equates "not having done something with her life"; this implication is usually brought over as the main worry of an OldMaid.

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Not quite a DeadHorseTrope, but much less common these days than twenty or thirty years ago for various reasons. Can have UnfortunateImplications if a writer decides that "not having married a man" equates "not having done something with her life"; this implication is usually brought over as the main worry of an OldMaid.
4th May '16 11:54:15 AM jamespolk
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* ''Theatre/AlisonsHouse'': Aunt Agatha never married and never even left home. Her sole concern is protecting the memory of her sister Alison, a CaptainErsatz of Creator/EmilyDickinson who gained posthumous fame as a poet.
28th Apr '16 5:12:09 PM Eievie
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She's your favourite elderly relative. Never married, never thought about marrying, never had a boyfriend or a lover -- or at least if she did you don't know about it. She's grey-haired, old-fashioned, conservative, prim, proper, prudish, strait-laced, and disapproving of anything new-fangled. She wears basic black with lace at the collar and cuffs and when she goes out she puts on a hat that went out of style in roughly 1920. But she dotes on her nieces and nephews, fusses over the local parson and the friendly neighbourhood policeman, and is sure to offer everyone 'a wee drop' of her special homemade cordial -- which, it turns out, could put a 600-pound gorilla into a coma (and [[Theatre/ArsenicAndOldLace sometimes more]]) after one sip. She drinks it by the gallon with no ill effects.

Although unmarried elderly women have always existed, the Maiden Aunt as a trope first arose in the 1880s. Historically, women had shorter lifespans than men because of the dangers of childbirth: many men married more than once, meaning that any woman who didn't marry at a young age had a good chance of marrying later on. But in the mid-Victorian era women's life expectancies increased due to advances in modern medicine while men's lifespans decreased, partly due to civilian conscription during wartime and, as we know now, partly due to increasing use of tobacco. Suddenly there were myriads, even millions of women who had no chance of marrying and, unlike unmarried men, had little chance of immigrating to a place where they could find a spouse. Decades later, these women reached old age and became known as maiden aunts.

They were especially thick on the ground in the US in the 1900-1930 period and in the Commonwealth in the 1950-1980 period -- these were the women whose potential husbands died in the US Civil War and in WorldWarI, respectively. In the 1920s they were often known as "Victorian aunts", because they had grown up in (and for the most part never quite left) the Victorian era. Often also called "spinsters" and "{{old maid}}s", although the latter term is usually discredited as offensive nowadays. If you were born in TheSixties you may remember how incredibly common they were, both in fiction and in RealLife.

Of course, many real-life women remained unmarried for reasons other than the one stated above. Some were lesbians, some were asexual, some preferred a career to marriage, some gave up the chance of marriage to look after aging parents, and some simply didn't want the bother of a husband and family. In fiction, though, they tend to be prudish, sexless conservatives who have never worked for a living. Some are kindly and sweet, some are bitter and angry, some are in a {{Cloudcuckooland}}. Often played straight in mysteries and for laughs in comedies. There aren't many subversions out there -- younger audiences are usually {{squick}}ed by any hint of sexuality in an older woman. A few characters fit this trope even though they aren't strictly speaking maidens.

to:

She's your favourite elderly relative. Never married, never thought about marrying, never had a boyfriend or a lover -- or lover--or at least if she did you don't know about it. She's grey-haired, old-fashioned, conservative, prim, proper, prudish, strait-laced, and disapproving of anything new-fangled. She wears basic black with lace at the collar and cuffs and when she goes out she puts on a hat that went out of style in roughly 1920. But she dotes on her nieces and nephews, fusses over the local parson and the friendly neighbourhood policeman, and is sure to offer everyone 'a "a wee drop' drop" of her special homemade cordial -- which, cordial--which, it turns out, could put a 600-pound gorilla into a coma (and [[Theatre/ArsenicAndOldLace sometimes more]]) after one sip. She drinks it by the gallon with no ill effects.

Although unmarried elderly women have always existed, the Maiden Aunt as a trope first arose in the 1880s. Historically, women had shorter lifespans than men because of the dangers of childbirth: childbirth; many men married more than once, meaning that any woman who didn't marry at a young age had a good chance of marrying later on. But in the mid-Victorian era women's life expectancies increased due to advances in modern medicine while men's lifespans decreased, partly due to civilian conscription during wartime and, as and--as we know now, partly now--partly due to increasing use of tobacco. Suddenly there were myriads, even millions of women who had no chance of marrying and, unlike unmarried men, had little chance of immigrating to a place where they could find a spouse. Decades later, these women reached old age and became known as maiden aunts.

They were especially thick on the ground in the US in the 1900-1930 period and in the Commonwealth in the 1950-1980 period -- these period--these were the women whose potential husbands died in the US Civil War and in WorldWarI, respectively. In the 1920s they were often known as "Victorian aunts", because they had grown up in (and for the most part never quite left) the Victorian era. Often also called "spinsters" and "{{old maid}}s", although the latter term is usually discredited as offensive nowadays. If you were born in TheSixties you may remember how incredibly common they were, both in fiction and in RealLife.

Of course, many real-life women remained unmarried for reasons other than the one stated above. Some were lesbians, some were asexual, some preferred a career to marriage, some gave up the chance of marriage to look after aging parents, and some simply didn't want the bother of a husband and family. In fiction, though, they tend to be prudish, sexless conservatives who have never worked for a living. Some are kindly and sweet, some are bitter and angry, some are in a {{Cloudcuckooland}}. Often played straight in mysteries and for laughs in comedies. There aren't many subversions out there -- younger there--younger audiences are usually {{squick}}ed by any hint of sexuality in an older woman. A few characters fit this trope even though they aren't strictly speaking maidens.



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[[folder: Comic Books ]]
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