Apparently women "still" feel the stigma of singleness.

About 40 percent of adults were single in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Researchers interviewed 32 of these middle-class, never-married women over age 30. They found that these women perceive themselves as caught in a double bind: Their single status made them both highly visible and invisible.

"We found that never-married women's social environments are characterized by pressure to conform to the conventional life pathway," said Larry Ganong, co-chair of Human Development and Family at the University of Missouri. "Heightened visibility came from feelings of exposure, and invisibility came from assumptions made by others."

Well, that's biology. From a biological perspective, these women are failures. They may not want to measure themselves with that yardstick, but the biological imperative "still" tugs mightily on the human species.

While one might think these annoyances become worse with age, the researchers actually found that dealing with single stigma is the worst for women in their mid-20's through mid-30's, while women older than age 35 tend to be more content with being single and don't express as much dissatisfaction as do younger women.

Before age 25, being single is considered more acceptable for women, the study indicates, but after reaching that age, women felt scrutinized by friends, family members and others for their singlehood.

Wow... and neither the scientists nor the reporter can think of any reason why singleness might be stigmatized most heavily, by the women themselves and by society, up through the age of 35? I'll go out on a limb here and speculate that it might be because female fertility drops like a rock in the late 30s. Basically, the stigma evaporates when the cause has been lost.

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