Roxane Gay and Rebecca Traister Talk Sex, Female Friendship, and What It Means to be Single Now


Roxane Gay; author of An Untamed State (2014), the essay collection Bad Feminist (2014), and Hunger (coming this year); spoke with journalist Rebecca Traister to mark the release of her book All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. Traister interviewed dozens of women from all over the United States for her book, painting a diverse and nuanced picture about how marriage has changed in recent decades for women.  Gay interviews Traister about her new book; changing trends, queer issues, gender dynamics, how the stigma of being single is changing and more. Traister and Gay discuss being married as it's shaped by choice, race, and class; women's identity as married or single people; and what marriage means to women today—and to Traister.

“Living singly in your twenties and thirties—and beyond—isn't a tryout for life: It is real life,” Traister says.

Read the introduction here, and click through to to read the interview. - In Beyoncé's ring finger-wagging 2008 anthem, "Single Ladies," she celebrates independent women who would rather be single than settle. In Rebecca Traister's new book, All the Single Ladies (Simon & Schuster), which borrows both the refrain and the feminist spirit of that song, she chronicles the rise of unmarried women in America and the different people we're becoming because of it. "For young women, for the first time, it is as normal to be unmarried as it is to be married, even if it doesn't always feel that way," Traister writes, noting that there were 3.9 million more single adult women in 2014 than there were in 2010. In 1960, 59 percent of American adults between 18 and and 29 were married; in 2011, it was just 20 percent. The book is wonderfully inclusive, examining single women from all walks of life—working-, middle-, and upper-class women; women of color and white women; queer and straight ones.

Traister has built a reputation as one of America's preeminent feminist voices through her work for Salon, the New Republic, ELLE (where she is a longtime contributing editor), and now New York magazine. Her first book, Big Girls Don't Cry, examined the 2008 presidential election and its cultural and political consequences via the cycle's cast of female power players, including women voters, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin. With All the Single Ladies, she brings her trademark intelligence and wit to bear, interspersing her own experiences and observations with dozens of interviews with women all over the country, plus historical context, from so-called Boston marriages (the nineteenth-century name for women who lived together) and the Brontë sisters to Murphy Brown and Sex and the City.

Visit to read Roxane Gay's interview with Rebecca Traister