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 belong...in 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%"?


Now let us take a look at the lifestyles of these wonderful, intelligent, and powerful women who have been driving everyone bonkers...

Single women today are more concerned with furthering their education than worrying over a man. They are earning their bachelor’s, master’s and many are shooting for their Ph.D.’s, M.D.’s and J.D.’s. Most notably are black women who have steadily taken advantage of the educational opportunities made available to them. There are approximately 500,000 more black female college graduates than black male college graduates (Folan, 2010). Pay attention to the ratio of black men to black women at the next college graduation you attend. Single women who bypass relationships to focus on their studies know that a man would only be a distraction (I am aware that there are plenty of men who support their girlfriend's/wives educational endeavors). Tamara Jackson, a 33-years-old single woman, has spent years studying to become a radiologist and is now in the process of completing her residency at Vanderbilt University Hospital ("More Women Choose to Remain Single," 2007). Go girl!

Not only would a relationship be a distraction from one’s studies, but I would even go further to say that some women choose to remain single to continue their education because a relationship may compromise their goals. I know countless women who postpone their educational pursuits in order to move to another state with their new husbands due to job opportunities. I know some women who postpone their educational pursuits for “awhile” and end up forgetting about them completely because they are too busy raising their children (and taking care of their husbands and running a household), which is an honorable around the clock job. This postponement of their education can end being indefinitely...or after they end up getting a divorce (knock on wood!). Single women do not have to worry about this. For the time being, they are focused on themselves.

Today’s single women are also very persistent in advancing their careers after the hard work they put into their education. The hectic schedules of career women seldom permit time for dating. This lifestyle may sound lonely (all work and little or no play), but men have been living it for years with society giving it their stamp of approval. Besides, with all that traveling that many career women do, who is to say that they do not have a sexy little boy-toy (or girl) waiting for them in some five-star hotel room? Career women realize that they may earn more than their male counterparts and that this may cause men to be a bit intimidated. Entrepreneur Effie T. Brown turned a fifty-thousand dollar investment into a multimillion dollar production company and has happily opted for the single life (Beaman, 2009).

Due to societal obligations, most men cannot (or are unwilling to) handle a woman with a higher earning potential than them (Hughes, 2006). Whoever earns the most tends to play the dominant role in relationships, which used to be played by men, but now women can play it, too (but boys never like it when girls enter their territory). One United Bank Chairman and CEO, Kevin Cohee, claims that men today are not intimidated by women who earn more than them; rather, they are more concerned with their “control issues” (Hughes, 2006). Cohee says that a man “wants to know that he can trust you to accept his love” and best of all “care for his children.” Pardon me Mr. Cohee, but how did we go from control issues to trust to caring for a man’s children? I fail to see the connection here.

There are also the single women who have absolutely no future intentions of tying the knot or popping out a couple of babies (yeah, there really are women out there who avoid marriage and bearing children like the plague). These women are not even interested in a long-term relationship; they play the field like the boys do and probably leave a trail of broken hearts in their path. They treat men the same way men have long since been treating women—like companions (Tounzhel, 2011). Some single women enjoy dating at their leisure and leaving at their leisure. They possess a sexual liberation reserved for men that other women only dream about but would not dare live out for fear of being labeled a whore (or if you like, a “ho”). Think Samantha Jones from Sex and the City. There are single women who may have had their hearts broken in the past and refuse to ever be in that position again. Some single women have watched their mothers, or other close female relatives, being ran over by men and vow to never be like them (Tounzhel, 2011). I admit to being one of those single women who have witnessed the mistreatment of their mothers and female relatives by men (my father, my uncle, etc.), but I have not completely given up on love...just marriage...and Haitian men in particular (sorry).

The media paints successful single women as lonely, but being alone is not equivalent to being lonely...

If single life women were not always negatively portrayed, then perhaps more of them would come to realize the wonderful gift that they have been given. It is the gift of being with Self. One of the many lies that women have been fed is that they are not with anyone when they are by themselves (Grace, 2011). Women have been conditioned to be dependent on men for recognition of their being; hence, the push for them to get married (under the disguise of creating loving bonds for our children and for black women it is to "save" the black family...yeah). But if women are not allowed to be with themselves they cannot have successful romantic relationships with another person (Rhone, 2002). Women must learn to enjoy their own company first and foremost (Grace, 2011). They need to learn who they are, what they like and do not like, what they want versus what they need, what goals they want to accomplish, etc. In other words, women must be granted time to become self-actualized, which is what the single life offers them. There is no man on the planet that can help a woman to know herself (Grace, 2011). It is a path best traveled alone.

Besides being in the company of themselves, single women also have the opportunity to be with family, friends, and their community, which can at times prove to be conflicting when involved in romantic relationships (Trimberger, 2005). Families are the source of moral values, beliefs, and ethics for individuals. As “crazy,” “dysfunctional,” and just plain ridiculous as ones family may seem, they have no doubt left their mark on us. Besides familial ties, the bonds of friendship women create are also important. Studies show that men benefit the most health wise when they marry a woman, while women benefit the most from nurturing their relationships with their friends (Davis, 2005; Grace, 2011). Oh, really now? They never tell us that part do they? Ladies, sounds to me like men are the ones who need us and not the other way around (ha!). Unfortunately for women, they place their friendships in a secondary position when romantic love enters their lives even when those relationships/marriages are not likely to last as long (hooks, 2000; DePaulo, 2006). Becoming involved in your immediate or extended community also allows room for growth. Volunteering or simply offering help to others in whatever way possible is a true blessing. Fellowship with others occurs through selfless giving (hooks, 2000).

See? There is a whole world out there waiting for single women to engage in. They need not take heed to the idea that they are alone or incomplete if they are not the prized beauty on the arm of a man. Enjoy the single life. Continue getting your education. Keep furthering your career. Spread your love wherever you choose (make sure the dudes wrap it up though!). And most of all give ABC Nightline, all the faux feminist authors of the scores of self-help books that tell you that your job is keeping you from finding a man/husband, and any person who still possesses a caveman mentality on the role of women in society a strategically raised middle finger. If a man is supposed to come into your life then trust that he will come exactly when he is supposed to and not a moment sooner or later. In the meantime, enjoy your own fabulous company. Otherwise, you can hook up with another woman since there are apparently nearly 3/4 of them out there...just saying.




References

Beaman, N.C. (2009). Even a broken clock is right twice a day. In I didn’t work this hard just to get married: Successful single black women speak out (pp. 73-78). Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill Books.

Davis, J.L. (2005, February). Women: Single and loving it. WebMD. Retrieved from

DePaulo, B. (2006). Myth #5: Attention, single women: Your work won’t love you back and your eggs will dry up. Also, you don’t get any and you’re promiscuous. In Singled out: How singles are stereotyped, stigmatized, and ignored, and still live happily ever after (pp. 134-149). New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Folan, K.L. (2010). Don’t bring home a white boy: And other notions that keep black
women from dating out
. New York, NY: Karen Hunter Publishing.

Gracy, S.D. (2011). Tales and advice from the stunningly single!: Think and live your
best life yet
. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.

hooks, b. (2000). Community: Loving communion. In All about love: New visions (pp. 127). New York, NY: HaperCollins.

Hughes, Z. (2006, May). When she earns more than he: Why are so many successful single sisters still single? Ebony, 61(7) 77-80.

More women choose to remain single (2007, February 22). Women’s Voices. Women’s Vote. Retrieved from http://www.wvwv.org/2007/2/22/more-women-choose-to-remain-single

Mukhopadhyay, S. (2011). Single and lovin’ it sorta. In Outdated: Why dating is ruining your love life (pp. 110-132). Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

Norment, L. (1982, August). Single...and loving it! Ebony, 67(10), 84-88.

Rhone, S.S. (2002, August 5). Single and loving it: Being happy alone. The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved from

Tounzhel, V. (2011, April 4). Reasons why girls stay single. eHow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/info_8165111_reasons-girls-stay-single.html

Trimberger, E.K. (2005). Sex and the single woman. In The new single woman (pp. 20-52). Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Young, L. (2010, June 14). High-achieving black women and marriage: Not choosing or

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