If you're a woman who marries at, say, age 24, at least one person will likely tell you that you settled down too young, at a time in your life when you should have been focusing on your career. But wait just a few years, and people will be warning you that you're now too old to find a life partner, and that if you want to try, you better hurry in order to have kids before hitting 35. "Women are now asked to live by second-wave feminist principles, until, boom, they're informed that they need a man no less than women ever did," writes Phoebe Maltz Bovy in the Atlantic.
Meanwhile, straight men are not judged in the same way: Marry young and you're obviously more responsible than your peers; reach your 35th birthday unmarried and that's no problem, you've still got all the time in the world. While there are good reasons to urge women not to marry too young ("the stability of marriage in upper-middle-class circles likely owes something to premarital trips around the block," Bovy writes), and while it is true that starting a family becomes more difficult at a certain age, "individual cases are, well, individual." It's time to become more accepting of women on both ends of the spectrum. "There is no official end date to when a woman can find a husband." Click for Bovy's full column. (Read more marriage stories.)