No Country for Old Maids: Talking About the ‘Man Drought’

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“The first thing we need to change in the way we talk about the ‘man drought’ is to listen,” writes Hannah August. “The most recent population estimates, from March 2015, put the number of ‘extra’ women [in the 25-49 age group] at 52,920—roughly the same as the entire student bodies at the universities of Auckland and Otago, combined. Much of the existing characteri­sation of the ‘man drought’ overlooks the diversity of women’s responses to it, and the way some of these responses challenge the cultural norms perpetuated in most of the mainstream media. Both mainstream media and academic articles that consider ways women might change their behaviour in order to find a male partner miss the point: the whole premise of the ‘man drought’ is that, statistically speaking, a proportion of women will simply be unable to do so.”

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