‘Self-partnered’ Watson leads single revolution

Pioneer: Watson led the UN’s HeForShe gender equality campaign. © Alasdair McLellan

Are traditional relationships dying? Emma Watson has described herself as “self-partnered” rather than single, as millions of people around the globe embrace life without romantic love.

Emma Watson, former Harry Potter star and international feminist activist, is very happy being single. So happy, in fact, that she thinks of herself instead as “self-partnered”.

In a new Vogue cover interview, 29-year-old Watson said that women approaching 30 face pressure to marry and have children.

“There’s this incredible amount of anxiety,” she said.

But Watson says she is happy with her “self-partnered” life.

Her statement comes as young people around the world turn their backs on traditional relationships.

“I’m now referring to myself as self-partnered instead of single. I love my new relationship status,” wrote one user on Twitter yesterday.

For the first time ever, more than half of Americans aged between 18 and 34 say they do not have a romantic partner. Those who do decide to marry are making the commitment later and later.

Experts believe there are many factors at play. Women raised in an era of greater equality are unwilling to sacrifice their education and careers for motherhood, while more reject marriage as an outdated, patriarchal institution.

Are traditional relationships dying out?

All the single ladies

In Quartz, Cassie Werber writes that “from Brooklyn to Paris, Rwanda to Japan”, societies are changing “the way we think about love and partnership” as people delay or give up on marriage and romance altogether. Careers take priority and self-care culture tells us that the secret of happiness is being comfortable with oneself. We just don’t need relationships.

But can that really be true? Trends always go around in circles. As it happens, social factors may have conspired to make marriage seem a bit stale, but falling in love is one of the most powerful and meaningful experiences in a human life. Companionship, affection, intimacy: these are things that cannot go out of date.

You Decide

  1. Are romantic relationships overrated?

Activities

  1. Write down five things that you think are most important for living a full and happy life.

Some People Say...

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections.”

John Keats (1795-1821), English Romantic poet

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Emma Watson was nine years old when cast to play Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, adapted from J.K. Rowling’s series of bestselling children’s books.
What do we not know?
Exactly how many more people are single now compared with previous decades. Many official national statistics list anyone who isn’t married as “single”, even if they are in a relationship.

Word Watch

Feminist activist
Watson was appointed UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in July 2014. Since then, she headed the HeForShe campaign, which encourages men to stand up for women’s empowerment.
Vogue
The world’s most famous fashion magazine. Watson will appear on the cover of the December issue.
Patriarchal
When a society is controlled by men. Many feminists believe that our societies are still fundamentally geared towards male control.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.