snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > SLC Central > Social Studies

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 27 March 2013, 07:40 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,824
Icon22 Almost half of American women fear becoming bag ladies

Despite making enormous strides professionally and financially, almost half of American women fear becoming bag ladies, even many of those earning six-figure salaries, according to a new survey.

http://www.latimes.com/business/mone...,2169579.story
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 27 March 2013, 08:07 PM
Auburn Red's Avatar
Auburn Red Auburn Red is offline
 
Join Date: 13 June 2010
Location: St. Louis area, Missouri
Posts: 2,141
Icon22

I know I get very frightened about that. Sometimes, when I'm at my worst financially, I have nightmares about living in a homeless shelter or living on the streets.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 27 March 2013, 08:16 PM
Cervus's Avatar
Cervus Cervus is offline
 
Join Date: 21 October 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 19,692
Default

"Bag lady"? Really? What's wrong with using the term homeless?

(I fully admit I have personal issues with that term, since my mother constantly threatened me with it as my fate for wanting to be an artist when I grew up. )

Back to the article:

Quote:
Forty-two percent said financially independent women intimidate men and run the risk of ending up alone, according to the survey. Almost one-third (31%) said those women are hard to relate to and don’t have many friends.
I don't see a connection here between "ending up alone" (so what?) and being homeless. If anything, I'd think fears of homelessness would tie into the unreliability of Social Security or investments or the job market. The article doesn't mention why the women feared becoming destitute, but it implies that having money and power intimidates men, and that being single or having few friends is somehow a factor. I think it's sloppy reporting on behalf of the Times.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 27 March 2013, 08:36 PM
A Turtle Named Mack's Avatar
A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
Join Date: 21 June 2007
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 18,196
Default

I would be surprised if at least half of men didn't fear becoming destitute as well. The focus of the article, or maybe the status, makes it seem that this is a unique concern of women without addressing whether it is.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 27 March 2013, 08:43 PM
Auburn Red's Avatar
Auburn Red Auburn Red is offline
 
Join Date: 13 June 2010
Location: St. Louis area, Missouri
Posts: 2,141
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
I don't see a connection here between "ending up alone" (so what?) and being homeless.
I think, I hope anyway, that they mean alone with no friends or family to take them in if something went wrong. I hope that isn't another criticism towards unmarried women.

Yes, good point, why can't the article just say "homeless" or "destitution." They don't say men are afraid of becoming "bag men"
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 27 March 2013, 08:49 PM
Avril's Avatar
Avril Avril is offline
 
Join Date: 07 August 2002
Location: Princeton, NJ
Posts: 9,550
Default

Isn't the term for "bag men" something like "tramps"? So you have "bag ladies" and "tramps," not to be confused with female tramps, who are another thing entirely?

There is plenty of criticism of unmarried women and always has been. And it's grossly unfair since it's not even possible for all women to marry. There are more adult women than adult men. There are far more gay men than gay women. And women live longer.

Somebody's got to stay single. This is what I say when the subject comes up. "I'm taking one for the team."
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 27 March 2013, 08:52 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is online now
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 67,376
Default

Mack makes a good point about the gratuitous gender division.

Relatedly, how many women in 2013 assume that having a (male) partner is some guarantee of financial security, or that not having one is a guarantee of lacking it? Am I [and are my female friends and acquaintances] exceptionally cynical? Or just more realistic?

And I haven't heard the term "bag lady" used in 20 years.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 27 March 2013, 08:56 PM
Cervus's Avatar
Cervus Cervus is offline
 
Join Date: 21 October 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 19,692
Default

When I hear "tramp" to refer to a homeless man, I picture someone from the Great Depression era. I don't think there's a male equivalent of "bag lady". It's like "old maid" in that it's slightly derogatory but gender-specific.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 27 March 2013, 09:02 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is online now
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 67,376
Default

Great Depression era vagrants who rode the rails were hobos. "Tramps" is an older term (I've seen it used in pre-1920 books), and designated a vagrant who traveled on foot. I'm pretty sure "bum" originally meant exclusively someone who did not/would not work, as opposed to tramps or hobos, who might peddle goods or work odd jobs.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 27 March 2013, 09:05 PM
Beachlife!'s Avatar
Beachlife! Beachlife! is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2001
Location: Lansing, MI
Posts: 25,784
Default

The terms we commonly used back in the 70s and 80s were bum and bag lady. I think bag lady became a term when homeless woman started to grow in numbers. I don't think either term is appropriate today.

This is the first time I have seen the term bag lady used in a long time. As a matter of fact, my first thought on seeing the headline was "they're worried about becoming homeless in the 80s?"
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 27 March 2013, 09:25 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is online now
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 67,376
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Somebody's got to stay single. This is what I say when the subject comes up. "I'm taking one for the team."
I may steal this (I was married once, but I've been divorced a LOT longer, and I'm not likely to marry again).
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 27 March 2013, 09:41 PM
fitz1980 fitz1980 is offline
 
Join Date: 27 May 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,275
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Isn't the term for "bag men" something like "tramps"? So you have "bag ladies" and "tramps," not to be confused with female tramps, who are another thing entirely?
I'm pretty sure that the male term is "bum."
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 27 March 2013, 09:47 PM
Sue's Avatar
Sue Sue is offline
 
Join Date: 26 December 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,610
Default

A few years ago I would have thought that half of American women would hold this fear because to quote Gloria Steinem "Most women are one man away from welfare" now I'd say that even if women have worked most or even all of their adult lives the economy is so precarious that's just not enough to guarantee financial security anymore.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 27 March 2013, 09:49 PM
Latiam's Avatar
Latiam Latiam is offline
 
Join Date: 19 June 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,204
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
I'm pretty sure that the male term is "bum."
Hobo gets tossed around an awful lot now and I'm pretty sure it's not someone riding the rails any more.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 27 March 2013, 10:22 PM
Wintermute's Avatar
Wintermute Wintermute is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 July 2003
Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Posts: 6,535
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Auburn Red View Post
I know I get very frightened about that. Sometimes, when I'm at my worst financially, I have nightmares about living in a homeless shelter or living on the streets.
My ex-wife did and I assume still does as well. I've always explained to her even after the divorce she will never be homeless. Yet she still has the anxiety over it.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 27 March 2013, 10:41 PM
Dropbear's Avatar
Dropbear Dropbear is online now
 
Join Date: 03 June 2005
Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 7,144
Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
I'm pretty sure that the male term is "bum."
In Australia it's often "derro" - as derived from 'derelict'.

Dropbear
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 27 March 2013, 10:54 PM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9,251
Default

"Bag lady" to me has a specific connotation that "homeless" doesn't. It brings to mind, for me, an older woman who is carrying a lot of possessions* and who is mentally unbalanced or non-typical. (E.g., talking to herself, hoarding worthless possessions, etc.) Which makes it a pretty odd thing for half of women to fear becoming.

* Leading to the lesser-used variant, "shopping cart lady."
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 27 March 2013, 11:01 PM
Gayle Gayle is offline
 
Join Date: 21 February 2000
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 9,640
Default

I cherish the birthday card from my aunt which says about the single state:
No ring on your finger
No bum on your couch

I was far more likely to end up destitute married to that no-good-non-working Ex-Creep I married.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 27 March 2013, 11:31 PM
nonnieyrissa's Avatar
nonnieyrissa nonnieyrissa is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2007
Location: Brooklyn/Hudson, NY/Rancho Cordova, CA
Posts: 2,553
Default

Counterpoint I've heard(and still hear) the term bag-lady. All. The. Time. From many people in the city and upstate(NY), but most memorably, similar to Cervus my nanny threatened that I would end up that way if I didn't want to do homework, or got dirty, etc. She mostly just called homeless men degenerates and derelicts, she never threatened me with men, just made it clear to avoid them, and all men. It usually worked though. Maybe because growing up in Ny bag-ladies(and men) were plentiful, so it seemed real. I saw them pushing carts with bags tied to them every time we went shopping.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 27 March 2013, 11:37 PM
Hero_Mike's Avatar
Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
 
 
Join Date: 06 April 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
Posts: 7,268
Default

I find the choice of phrasing of "bag lady" to be odd because it implies more than just saying "crazy cat lady". The latter may imply someone becoming isolated, focused on a singular interest (to the detriment of all else), and maybe a little bit of mental illness, but being a "crazy cat lady" is still better than the stark poverty (and destitute mental state) of homelessness.

Just getting back to the OP in a serious way - is there some reason why these women fear not only poverty, but the estrangement of all of their friends and family? Could it be that they are - for whatever reason - already estranged from them? I'm not saying that they are estranged for any good or valid reasons, but how often do people break ties with their parents, or friends, or both, because of a life choice like, say, marrying the "wrong" man? Sure, people break with their parents over issues of religion and career and just wanting to get out of a certain set of expectations (think of the lead character in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), but if they do so because of a relationship with a certain man, and that relationship then fails, then they'd feel that they are most definitely on their own.

Is there a fear, also, that if a woman becomes successful, she will automatically generate enemies? I don't presume that the success has to be at the expense of others and stepping over them - but rather - that it still creates feelings of jealousy, far more than for a successful man. And in generating enemies - passive or active - that they are more likely to be alone if they are broke?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Halloween nothing to fear snopes Snopes Spotting 0 20 October 2009 04:51 AM
Million to one apple is half red, half green snopes Fauxtography 11 28 September 2009 04:28 PM
Ladies in Black haunt Rudolph Valentino's tomb snopes Entertainment 5 19 September 2008 09:01 PM
There are no ugly women, only poor women snopes Fauxtography 95 31 March 2007 02:21 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.