Old Maid


(permanent link) added: 2010-12-15 21:03:07 sponsor: SomeGuy (last reply: 2010-12-27 20:29:58)

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When a female character reaches a certain vaguely defined threshold age-wise she will be treated with the most terrible of insults- "Old Maid". As in, no one wants to marry someone who is too old because all the cool guys only want young wives. Oftentimes this doesn't even have to be a literal threat- simply the idea that a woman is nearing the point at which she is incapable of snagging a husband is a horrific insult and reflects poorly on her ability to attract a mate. And, by extension, her real value to society.

Back when women's roles in society were, ahem, more narrowly defined, this trope was far more common, and was an expected part of gossip. Nowadays it's generally only used as a pejorative against women who clearly want to get a man to marry them but are apparently (not necessarily actually) unable to. Nosy parents eagerly wishing for grandkids are a rife topic for this.


Examples:

  • This is Mary's fate in the bad world George sees in It's a Wonderful Life. Apparently without George around she couldn't get married at all- which seems a little strange considering that earlier in the movie she was using an offer of marriage from Sam as a tool to try to make George jealous.
replies: 22

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