An increasing number of women are entering into the institution of marriage with their dream partner: themselves. In her cover piece this week, Ariane Sherine investigates the women who have brought a new literalism to saying, 'I do'. But is this just a quirky fad? Or are we witnessing a profound social change? Lara Prendergast speaks to Ariane and Spectator editor Fraser Nelson on this week's Spectator podcast. Ariane tells Lara:
'There are an increasing number of women who have decided, because they don't have a man - or maybe some of them don't want a man - that if they can't find Mr Right, well, I'm going to embrace myself and marry myself and it's going to be a really positive and self-affirming ritual. I'm going to invite all my family and friends and have my big day, man or no man'.
But why are they doing it? Fraser says on the podcast:
You can certainly argue that not many normal people would marry themselves. After all, it is the ultimate act of narcissism and we are talking about a handful of people. But where I think Ariane's piece resonates so much is because it's emblematic of a wider trend. And that trend is that women who get to a certain age where they might have been expected to have found a man, are not Bridget Jones-style crying as if there was a massive gap in their lives. Instead, these women are content, they're happy, they're fulfilled.
Also on this week's podcast, is the downfall of Islamic State on the horizon? In 2014, the Iraqi city of Mosul was captured by ISIS, becoming the group's centre of operations in the region. Two years on and the militants still hold the city - but only just. In his Spectator piece this week, Seth J Frantzman calls a recent spate of violence in Iraq the last spasms of the organisation's grip on the territory. So what happens next? Seth tells Lara:
'The Iraqi army and Kurds are close to Mosul, but the big question is: when will they decide to go into the city and vanquish them? I think it's inevitable that Mosul will fall but it could take some time - six months or a year - because this is a very slow grinding war and it obviously has another side to it in Syria, where you also have Islamic State. And of course you also have Islamic State pockets throughout the world, so even if Isis loses in Iraq and Syria, there will still be pieces of it left.'
And finally, is it time we get ready for the return of the bonkbuster? As Jilly Cooper releases her first new novel for half-a-decade. Frances Robinson writes in the Spectator that Theresa May should look no further than the naughty stories of Cooper and Shirley Conran for inspiration on how to heal Britain. So is the bonkbuster back for good? Lara is joined by Camilla Swift and Frances, who says on the podcast:
'I think we're looking at a perfect storm of global events which have given us the ideal conditions for a bonkbuster revival. If you look at the geo-political situation with Russia, that's a bit 1980s; there's a woman back in No.10, that's extremely 1980s. There's also growing inequality - and in the bonkbuster, the extremes between rich and poor are pushed to the maximum, so I think we're in the ideal situation for a revival.'
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