Makeinu: a single, childless woman in the 30s
Posted March 20, 2009on:
Makeinu literally translates to “loser dogs”…And who is the loser? The single, childless women in the 30s.
The term Makeinu was first coined by popular columnist Sakai Junko in her book Makeinu no Toboe (The Grumbling of Losers) which became a top selling book. The popularity of the book and the concept of makeinu has perked the public’s interest making the term “makeinu” one of the trendiest words.
In this book, Sakai terms a makeinu as a woman who is 30 years old or over who is not married and has no children. By contrast, a woman who is married with children is defined as a kachiinu (winner). In days past, women who remained single in their thirties and beyond were stigmatized in the workplace, the community, and among relatives. But nowadays, according to recent data, 43% of men and 27% of women between 30 and 34 years old are unmarried; this is an age in which more than one in four women remain single even after turning 30.
At 37 years old, Sakai is a makeinu herself. In writing the essays, she took the approach that women in a position like hers could live more easily if they shrugged it off and said, “So what if I’m a loser?” But the real question is… are they really losers? Far from being true losers, the makeinu group possess strong purchasing power and have the potential to personal consumption, from gourmet food, vacation, hair stylists to condominiums, they can buy them all, with their own money. Single women in their 30s who have opted to forego the traditional marriage-children route in favor of careers and self-indulgence has won her economic power and independence. These women have taken ownership of the word makeinu as they reinvent what it means to be a young , independent, career woman in Japan.