Why must every single possible female demographic have its own clever little acronym? (I use the word “clever” here ironically.) The latest manifestation of this loathsome trend is the term TWIT. Brits will at this point already be poised to belt anyone referring to an entire group of women as twits, but wait! It means something! “Teenage Women in their Thirties”, apparently.
Where to begin? Well, how about with the fact that, other than for perhaps the last two years, teenagers are not women. This is why we have the word “girl”, so that we can distinguish between the two. Then we have the supposed definition of TWITs as described by Eleni Hale – “Just like men with Peter Pan-syndrome who are not ready to grow up, TWITs are putting serious relationships and parenthood on hold, instead choosing to continue partying and enjoying the freedoms they discovered in their teens.” So, um, basically you mean female adults who don’t have children and who have active social lives. And the existence of such people is a surprise because…?
What seems to be going on here is the old phenomenon where it’s OK for men to do whatever they feel like as long as it’s not illegal, but when women step even an inch outside the mommy and housewife box this clearly spells disaster and the impending breakdown of society. Also it’s terribly salacious because – women going out drinking? In clubs? There may be the pursuit of sex afoot! We can’t have that.
If I sound a bit tetchy it’s because I am. The idea that there’s something unusual about women spending time going out with their friends is sexist to the core. It’s also stupid and in defiance of all indicators as to how societies are currently evolving.
In every First World country, the age of first marriage is increasing, as is the age at which people first have children. More and more people are choosing not to have children at all. Given what the environmental ramifications of unchecked First World population growth would be I’d argue that this is a good thing. Even if you don’t agree that this is a good thing it’s still none of anyone’s business (other than the people directly involved) if some women choose to delay marriage and childbearing, or to skip them altogether.
What’s really at stake here is the ability of society in an overarching sense to dictate social mores for women. Terms like TWIT, cougar, etc. are simply shorthand for the idea that women have stepped out of line in some way, become too confident, too sexual, too something. They’re an attempt to shame women back into the box that feminism helped us to break out of in the 60s, and – if we insist on staying un-boxed – to remind us that we really should feel guilty about it.
Well, to hell with that. Society is not going to descend into chaos because a few women remain socially active and relatively free from responsibilities well into adulthood. Men have been doing this for generations, and we haven’t turned into a real-life version of “Escape from New York” yet. Societies change over time, social norms evolve, and attempts to turn back the clock do nothing but cause the people making them to look foolish. The world will survive a few women going out dancing with their friends on the weekend long past the age where some old fashioned folks think that they ought to be firmly ensconced inside the home.
It is amusing, though, watching so many people fight women’s gradual slide into equal status so hard. Especially when those people are women themselves. What are they so afraid of? Being mocked? The realization that with more opportunity comes more opportunity for failure? A deep discomfort with their own sexuality and how it might be perceived by others?
Personally I don’t much care about being mocked by demonstrably not very bright people. I’m 35 years old, I’m not ready to settle down yet, and I really have no interest in how random people feel about that. Going out drinking with your friends is apparently an immature and somehow socially subversive act? Um, around here, that’s what’s commonly known as “the weekend.”
There’s only one twit in this virtual room, Ms. Hale, and it’s not any of the women partying it up in bars across many nations this Saturday night. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s a barstool with my name on it waiting for me and a friend who owes me a martini.