Sunday, November 27, 2011

Single Ladies: They Don't Need (or Want) a Ring On It

Society doesn’t put the same pressures on men to settle down.

– Samhita Mukhopadhyay
The absence of a sexual partner frees women to focus on self-actualization, creativity, and personal growth.

– Ellen K. Trimberger

Society regards the accomplished single woman as an obstruction to the traditional family. Not only has today’s successful single women removed themselves from the household (where their asses the kitchen making the meal for their family...popping out children for their husbands...or on their backs with their husbands taking pleasure from their bodies whenever they want), but they also have the audacity to choose to forego the marriage and the baby carriage (Norment, 1982; Beaman, 2009; Mukhopadhyay, 2011). Not every single woman wants to remain single forever, but society makes it virtually impossible to enjoy being single (except for men that is). However, no matter how much the media tries to ignore content single women (or attempt to make them look desperate and in denial of their obvious loneliness), they are happy, fulfilled, and actually loving the hell out of "singledom."

Everywhere I turn I am hit with the same statistic over and over again: nearly 70% of all black women are single (Folan, 2010). I admit that it is a pretty considerable percentage especially when you compare it to the 31% of white women who remain single or the 32% of Asian women are single (Young, 2010). But before the media began turning the growing numbers of unmarried women (of all races and ethnicities) into a national crisis, I would like to provide some...exceptions. Did anyone consider that a number of these women are lesbians who may be living in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages? What about the women who are divorcees or widows and are uninterested in getting remarried? How about the number of girls who are as young as 15 and have been thrown under the category of “single women” when compiling data? Did anyone take into account the women were in long-term relationships but were not at that moment married? How do they fit it in? Once these “anomalies” are taken into consideration, is the number of single women really that much? By the way, I do not recall being sent a questionnaire about this. So how many women were really included in this survey for everyone to run wild with "70%"?

Happily Unmarried Black Woman is Not an Oxymoron

“So you’re twenty five, no kids, no husband? Do you have a boyfriend or is that just not your thing?”

-Intern coordinator at my current job

I can’t recall the countless number of times that people give me this quizzical look when I tell them that I don’t have children, or a husband or even a potential husband. Something about me must by default be wrong or off. People look at me like they want to ask me questions about me but are a bit afraid to come off as insensitive. When this happens I tend to smile at the awkwardness and open up the uncomfortable conversation that goes along with being single. (As in not married) As Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks states “Black women are the most segregated group in our society when it comes to relationships.”

When given the opportunity to dialogue about this labeled “catastrophe”, three ringed circuses occur, like the one in which occurred in 2010 in Atlanta with an” all-star” panel (Steve Harvey, Hill Harper, Jimi Izrael etc.) The panel in essence summed up that the problem Black women are facing is Black women. So “solutions” have come about to help aide Black women in our conquest to be “happily” married like everyone else. From books like Steve Harvey’s “Act like a lady, think like a man” and even more gut wrenchingly hilarious is Tyler Perry’s “Don’t make a Black woman take off her earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life” (And please don’t even get me started on how twisted it is that he is writing from his alter ego Madea).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where Da (Good) Black Men At? ....Then Where Are the (Good) White Men?

Perhaps they [black women] are punished for their success, reviled for their strength and independence, feared for their security, hated for their heart, loathed for their determination to survive, and yet still loyal to black men.
         –Michael Eric Dyson
When black women who want to be in relationships, who want to raise families, who want to share all the love inside them with a man reject possible partners who might be good for them and do so solely on the basis of race, they may be throwing away their best chances for happiness with both hands.
         –Karin Langhorne Folan

Can all of the good black men please stand up? Countless magazine articles, blogs entries (including this blog apparently), and news segments keep proclaiming that black women are facing the worst good black man shortage in history. This conversation has been going on for a couple of decades, so the drought should have declined by now, right? Am I doomed to be single for the rest of my life in a big house with my 12 Siamese cats (I like cats, so sue me) to keep me company and a well-stocked wine cellar to keep me warm at night? Or at the very least, end up as a lonely divorcee with three kids to care for? I cannot escape the bombardments of statistics of single black females since doing the research for this post. It is definitely a can of worms that I partially wish that I had never uncovered.

The Elusive Good Black Man
Is there honestly a shortage of good black men that are marriage potential for black women or is it merely a ploy by the media to further degrade the image of healthy relationships between the genders? Have black media outlets taken the bait of the mainstream media and are causing black women to sink to even lower levels of desperation?

Smith tells us that good black men cannot be found since they were never missing in the first place (2010). Kind of like when you lose your car keys and your searching everywhere for it and the moment you stop looking....BAM!! They keys were not missing, they were right in front of your face while you were busy searching in between sofa cushions, your pockets and everwhere else. The good black men black women are searching for may be right under their noses (Smith, 2010). May I suggest that these men write ‘good black man’ on their foreheads so that they can be easily identified? Black women keep missing them at every intersection for some reason.

On the hunt for the "Good" Black man.

“One day you’re going to marry a good Black man. He’s going to be a Christian, kind, loving, caring and handle all the bills…”

-My aunt

All my life I’ve been told that I was going to marry a “good Black man”. To be successful as a Black woman depended upon three things (As society had me believing), and those things are a decent income, a good education, and the unconditionally loving Black man for my husband. Numerous magazines, blogs, and persons have tried to give definition to what it means to be a “good Black man” Even furthermore the questions is where can they be found? Are they all in hiding in a particular spot in the country, and even more so if found then what?

ABC Nightline News had a special that in a roundabout way pertained to what it means to be a good Black man and additionally what Black women aren’t finding them. There additionally was a follow up article pertaining to the special. It is stated that 60% of college graduate who are Black are women. Furthermore 71% of those who are Black in graduate school are women. (Though it should be noted that there are roughly almost two million more Black women than Black men) While the special received loads of criticism and some praise, it is noted that this is a “problem” (Being single, Black, and a woman).