20th Century Irish Roman Catholics Actually Shamed Single Women For Being Single – Gross

20th Century Irish Roman Catholics Actually Shamed Single Women For Being Single – Gross

This reminds me of how present-day Protestant and Baptist conservative Christians, and secular American conservatives, still shame women for being single and/or for being childless.

It’s disgusting that people do this. It’s not your place to question a woman’s marital or childed status. A woman isn’t less a woman because she is single or childless  (whether by choice or by circumstance).

(Link): Chalk Sunday: Women marked with an X for being single 

Feb. 26, 2023

By Nuala McCann

Today – the first Sunday in Lent – was once known as Chalk Sunday in Ireland.

“It was a custom dating back to the 1900s,” said Fiona Byrne, curator of History at the Ulster Folk Museum.

“Young boys would have drawn Xs on the backs of single women’s coats and dresses as they walked to and from Mass. They might have dusted them with chalk or touched them on the shoulder.

“It meant you didn’t manage to get married and was a bit mean really.

Lent is an old English word meaning ‘lengthen’. Lent is observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer. It allows Christians to remember Jesus’s fasting in the desert. It is a time of giving things up and a test of self-discipline.

No sex

The old Irish tradition of Chalk Sunday ties in with the feast of Shrove or Pancake Tuesday -the last day before Lent began – when people celebrated and had weddings, in preparation for the period stretching over six weeks of fasting, penitence and denial.

Meat, eggs, dairy, alcohol and even sex were off limits for strict Catholics in Ireland over Lent. Music and merrymaking was not enjoyed. There was a tradition of musical instruments being put away for the six weeks of Lent.

“Shrove Tuesday was traditionally the last day to get married before Lent,” said Ms Byrne. “There would have been a big rush for priests running up to Shrove Tuesday.”

People who were single were considered to have disregarded their social duty to marry and enjoyed a lesser social status.

It followed that Chalk Sunday was a focus on the single.

“Women’s role at that time was about getting married, having children and keeping a house,” said Ms Byrne.

“Women did so much more than that … but as for marriage, for some women it just may not have worked out. The word ‘spinster’ is a horrible term.”

The tradition of Chalk Sunday was not popular in Ulster. It was more common in the south western part of Ireland in the early part of the last century, she said.

There might have been public jeering and cat calls as well.

Skellig Night was a feature of Shrove Tuesday in parts of the Republic of Ireland, especially Cork and Kerry.

After sunset, noisy crowds went onto the streets of towns mocking the people who were single and telling them to “go to the Skelligs”.

The Skellig islands off County Kerry were said to still run under the old calendar, therefore Ash Wednesday would arrive later there, so that there would be still time for the single to go there to marry before Lent began.

Sometimes, people in disguise would call to the homes of the single and try to take them out onto the streets.

‘Pus Sunday’

The word “pus” is Irish for scowl and the day was also called Pus Sunday – as those who were without a partner were said to wear a scowl reflecting their unhappiness at being single.

The day after Chalk Sunday was Salt Monday.

“Salt Monday was a day when girls who did not manage to get married would have salt thrown at them to ‘preserve’ them until Lent was over,” said Ms Byrne.

“It was saying that they would be kept still ‘ripe’. But this was a bit more light hearted rather than an X on your back as you were walking home from Mass.”

Salt Monday targeted women, she pointed out.

“It’s a hint at women’s fertile cycles. There was no need to preserve men as there’s not a clock on them.”

She said that with the modern eye, looking back, it sounds “mean”.
— end —

Yes, it was mean. Also incredibly insulting.


(Link): Jesus Christ Removed the Stigma, Shame From Being Single and Childless – by David Instone Brewer

(Link): Victorian Women Were Once Asked Why They Were Spinsters And Their Responses Were Incredible by L. Waters | Sick of People Asking You Why You’re Still Single?

(Link):  Woman Told She Can’t Dine Alone: ‘Next Time Bring A Friend’

(Link): Restaurant Barred A Customer – Single Adult Woman – From Sitting At The Bar, Assuming She Must Be An Escort by C. Lampen

(Link):  Theme Park Bans Single Adults For Fear They Are All Pedophiles

(Link): The Chelsea Handler Childless Woman Upset: Other Conservatives Wrongly Conflating Married Motherhood with Womanhood or with Happiness, Meaning, or Purpose

(Link):  Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?

(Link): The Gross, Shaming Natalism Propaganda on Gab Platform by Its Rude Members, Including By Roman Catholics and Other Conservatives

(Link): Top 13 Reasons Why People Don’t Want to Get Married Any More – and Why Staying Single Makes You Happier

(Link): I’m Full of Regret at Ever Having Children Because I Miss My Old Life So Much – Why Didn’t Someone Warn Me Not to Do It?, by E. Coughland

(Link): Fewer Americans See Their Romantic Partners As a Source of Life’s Meaning

(Link): Inside the Growing Movement of Women Who Wish They’d Never Had Kids by S. Treleaven

(Link): I Appear Successful, But Since Having Kids I Feel I’ve Lost Myself by Annalisa Barbieri (Letter from a Married Mother Who Has Depression, Low Self Esteem)

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

(Link):  A Woman’s Fertility is Her Own Business, not Everyone Else’s by L. Bates 

(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site

(Link): Authors at The Federalist Keep Bashing Singleness in the Service of Promoting Marriage – Which Is Not Okay

(Link): Do You Feel Shame About Being Single? By John Amodeo, PhD

(Link): Dear Abby: “My Kids Never Call or Visit Me” – Your Adult Children Do Not Owe You Friendship and Won’t Visit You When You Are Elderly: Readjust Your Expectations, Parents

(Link): Federalist Magazine Staff Annoyed that Other Outlets Publish the Down Side of Motherhood and Are Requesting Sunny Motherhood Propaganda Pieces – As If Conservatives Haven’t Pushed for Motherhood Enough? The Mind Boggles

(Link): The Bizarre, Misguided Shaming of Single and Childless or Childfree Women by Pro-Lifer Abby Johnson – (Not All Single, Childless Women are Liberal, Pro-Choice Feminists)

(Link):  Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

(Link): Pro-Life, Yet Anti-Celibacy, Anti-Childless Christian Site Tweets Story about Mother Who Slit New Born Infant Son’s Throat to Save Her Sex Life (Christians equating single or childless / childfree women to women who murder their babies)

(Link): Jobless Mom Admits Letting Kids Go Hungry to Splash Benefits Cash on ‘Botched’ Boob Job

(Link):  I’m in My 40s, Child-Free and Happy. Why Won’t Anyone Believe Me? By Glynnis MacNicol

(Link):  Woman Sold Her Baby for Sex Multiple Times, Man Took Porn Images of Child

(Link): Mother Suffocates Her New Born and Shoves It In Toilet

(Link): Mean Moms Caught Making Fun of ‘Ugly’ Babies in Secret Facebook Group

(Link): Critique of Conservative Site Federalist’s Opinion Piece “There Is One Pro-Women Camp In American Politics, And It’s The Right by Elle Reynolds” – Do Federalist Magazine Members Realize There Are Single, Childless Conservative Women?

(Link): 34 Year Old Single Woman Harassed by Relatives at Wedding Over Why She Is Not Married Yet Asks How To Get Them to STFU About Her Singleness

(Link): ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists That Do Not Pathologize Singles

(Link): Tell the Baby-Obsessed To Back Off (Letter)

(Link):  Idiot Assumes His 44 Year Old Sister Is A Lesbian Because She’s Never Been Married

(Link):  ‘Leftover’ Is A Term Used In Many Parts of Asia For Women Who Haven’t Married By Their Mid-20s

(Link): My Parents Excluded Me When I Was Single — Now They’re Doing It to My Sister (Ask Amy Column)

(Link):   Dad Buys Full-Page $900 Newspaper Ad Seeking a Wife for His 48 Year Old, Never Married Son

(Link):  Singles Shaming Mother: Her Sons are in their 30s, Great Guys, But She’s Freaking Because They’re Not Married (letter to Hax columnist)

(Link): Single and 40: Dealing with Disappointment by L. Bishop

(Link): I’m 45, Single And Childless. No, There’s Nothing ‘Wrong’ With Me. by M Notkin

(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40

(Link): The Stupid Advice We Give To Single Women Over 40 (from the Current Conscience Blog)

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