Beware the Christmas Cakes

First, it’s probably necessary to define Christmas Cakes, technically “unsold Christmas Cakes”, which is, believe it or not, a Japanese term.

“Women are Christmas cakes” because just like how nobody wants to buy a Christmas cake after December 25th, unmarried women over the age of 25 are worthless — believe it or not, this used to be a popular saying in Japan just a few decades ago. Perhaps, the double surprise for those unfamiliar with Japanese culture is that people buy a specific type of pastry to celebrate Christmas here. When I learned about this phrase from my female boss, I was genuinely shocked. As a single woman who just turned 25, I would have been called an “unsold Christmas cake.” The slur implies that a woman is viewed as valuable only if she is either young or married. Although we still have a long way to achieve gender equality, at least we disapprove of such outright insults today. As a growing number of women are postponing or forgoing marriage and pursuing careers instead, the Christmas cake analogy seems to represent outdated anti-feminist and sexist attitudes.

Yeah, so, about that.

Almost all the women I know who are single and over 30 think they’ll eventually find a great husband to take care of them. There is no self-reflection or plan to find out what men want so they would be a better choice over a younger woman.

On average, the whole “I am a strong independent woman who don’t want no man to take care of me” phase so common to young women these days lasts past college and about 18 months into their much-ballyhooed careers. However, once a woman actually experiences, for the first time in her life, how difficult and unpleasant it is to provide for oneself, and how low her standard of living and quality of life is likely going to be for the rest of her life, her opinion about marriage and children often undergoes a dramatic change. This belated realization is very often the point at which a woman suddenly decides that perhaps the traditional life is acceptable to her after all.

Which is why women under 30, who have the intrinsic wisdom to seek a life as a wife and mother in conscious preference to one with a career, are to be vastly preferred to those women who are only settling for a traditional life because they think it will be an easier life than the independent one they previously sought.

And women under the age of 30 would do very well to recall that men possess just as much agency as they do, and that young women who make a strong bid early tend to find themselves married to higher quality men than those who keep waiting for a better option to present itself.

UPDATE: It is educational to observe that even those women who had a traditional life and threw it away to pursue the greener grass on the other side quickly come to realize that the strong and independent life isn’t particularly desirable.

“I told my friends and family I’d never get married again. I needed independence, a fulfilling career, and space to chart my own course, and I didn’t think marriage fit into that vision. I was content to look toward a future without a husband, children, or the trappings of a ‘traditional’ life,’” she wrote.

As she grew older, however, the fun, carefree lifestyle – being wined and dined, going to parties – began to get old. The pursuit of comfort and self became dull, she said. When she turned 38, terror began to take over.