Bachelor Girl (Google eBook)

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Jun 23, 2009 - Social Science - 320 pages
1 Review

In this lively and colorful book of popular history, journalist Betsy Israel shines a light on the old stereotypes that have stigmatized single women for years and celebrates their resourceful sense of spirit, enterprise, and unlimited success in a world where it is no longer unusual or unlikely to be unwed.

Drawing extensively on primary sources, including private journals, newspaper stories, magazine articles, advertisements, films, and other materials from popular media, Israel paints remarkably vivid portraits of single women -- and the way they were perceived -- throughout the decades. From the nineteenth-century spinsters, of New England to the Bowery girls of New York City, from the 1920s flappers to the 1940s working women of the war years and the career girls of the 1950s and 1960s, single women have fought to find and feel comfortable in that room of their own. One need only look at Bridget Jones and the Sex and the City gang to see that single women still maintain an uneasy relationship with the rest of society -- and yet they radiate an aura of glamour and mystery in popular culture.

As witty as it is well researched, as thoughtful as it is lively, Bachelor Girl is a must-read for women everywhere.


What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This woman, in the same vein as Corinne Holt Sawyer, Elizabeth Wilson, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Susan B. Kaiser and other behaviorist mental health cultists, uses the strategy of "transvestism" to have her sex exclusively in the apparel limelight, thereby exerting dominance over men by relegating them to a uniform---pants. I read Betsy Israel's attack on freedom of dress for me in GQ, September 1990, page 251. Freedom of dress is a civil right; and a civil right cannot be a "mental illness." Too bad she can't be sent back to fill Mary Walker's shoes and be arrested by a policeman for wearing pants in public ("clothing not belonging to her sex") just after he read "A Curious Disease," NY Times editorial calling for women in pants, who were suffering from "permanent mental hallucination," to be treated "with the usual methods in use at the best conducted hospitals for the insane." It is becoming more difficult to conceal sex discrimination by relying on psychiatric terminology, a matter which should bring tears to Betsy Israel as she wages her war to prevent men from ever being in the limelight concerning apparel. 

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 17 - her lips skinny, her mouth extensive, her teeth straggling and loose, of various colours and conformation; and her long neck shrivelled into a thousand wrinkles-In her temper, she is proud, stiff, vain, imperious, prying, malicious, greedy, and uncharitable.
Page 190 - 1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal—on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most
Page 17 - In her person, she is tall, raw-boned, aukward, flat-chested, and stooping; her complexion is sallow and freckled; her eyes are not grey, but greenish, like those of a cat, and generally inflamed. - . her
Page 42 - us, it is true, of what at their festivals the idle and inconsiderate call ‘life,' but which brings in reality the end of our lives, and the chill of death with it.
Page 59 - up and stretch. Would noon never come? It seemed as if she had worked an entire day already. She was not hungry at all, but weak, and her eyes were tired straining at
Page 67 - take her anywhere. I dressed her in the most stylish Paris models, but Delancey Street sticks out from every inch of her. Whenever she opens her mouth, I'm done for.
Page 137 - When I go to see a modern picture, like Our Dancing Daughters, I am thrilled. These modern pictures give me a feeling to imitate their ways. I believe that nothing will happen to the carefree girl like Joan Crawford, but it is the quiet girl who is always getting into trouble.
Page 59 - mass of dull complaining muscles, fixed in an eternal position and performing a single mechanical movement which became more and more distasteful until at last it
Page 266 - Nancy F Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987);

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2009)

Betsy Israel is a journalist and former editor who has contributed to the New York Times, Elle, Rolling Stone, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, People, Mademoiselle, Vogue, New York, Spin, Playboy, and the Los Angeles Times, among many others. She is a former columnist for Glamour, Us, and New York Woman and was a contributing writer for Mirabella. She has written numerous screenplays and is the author of Grown-Up Fast: A True Story of Teenage Life in Suburban America. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.

Bibliographic information