Single ladies remix

Another guest post from the truly talented J. Victoria Sanders.

Revolutionary uprisings and mancessions not withstanding, it’s fascinating that the true epidemic of the 21st Century has become the fact that there are single women in the world who just don’t give a damn about marriage. God help us if people all over the world get free and there’s no real news. That’s when the very center of hell for cheerfully Beyonce-humming happy women becomes most apparent: all these unmarried hoes are dragging the world down into lopsided destitution, poverty and Steve Harvey-Nightline necessitated uplift.

I forced myself to read a full fourth of the Moynihan Report because I used to think this was a black woman issue. But Tracy McMillan has made this broader than a womanist dillemma with her “Tiger Mom” piece for the lonely lass,  Why You’re Not Married. Note that she begins as most do: with the assumption that the reader wants badly enough to be married and is so confused about why she’s not that she needs someone to ‘splain it.  She’s perfect, too, because McMillan has been married three times (currently single?) so she could give the other relationship expert we know a run for his money.

She said this is what she was born knowing about marriage:

The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don’t deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway — because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self…

Of course! Why haven’t we been working on that, all my single ladies? Be better, get married. Duh.

Anyway,  the Jezebel ladies I adore weighed in with “10 More Reasons You’re Not Married” which is a funny list, because it’s so…true. Then, Jessica Ravitz at CNN, responded with a nice, simple post that says, basically: Some of us are just grown ass women who just haven’t met anyone worth marrying yet, so go somewhere and sit down with all that other nonsense (she’s nicer than that, of course):

Maybe you agreed to go on dates you dreaded because you were determined to have an open mind. Maybe you learned you had good reasons to dread those dates…But maybe you still believe there’s someone great out there for you. You’re ready, you know you have so much to give, and you look forward to meeting him — wherever and whenever that might be.

I’ve been single on and off for a few years now, so this is all familiar territory. Every six months or so, when he’s not getting divorced, Steve Harvey publishes another relationship advice book or there’s a State of Black Womanhood special on late night television or a mess of census data comes out suggesting that the world would be better if black women would stop messing up the world by being content (and sometimes not so content, but can I live?) in their solitude. You know the stories. Black women are Sooo Successful. Black men are Sooo not because they’re all in prison (and even if they weren’t, or they aren’t on the way, they don’t date black women, or they date black women but don’t marry them, or they hate black women who go to church because they want to watch football).

I work for the mainstream media, so my least favorite cop out to hear for why people aren’t informed about the world is something that sounds like blaming the mainstream media. But the mainstream media has been rehashing this story for a really long time. In preparation for potential spinsterhood in the mountains, I’ve kept the clips. I have a Newsweek magazine from seven years ago, that contains the first article of its kind that I saw and pondered for more than a year. The title was “From Schools to Jobs, Black Women are Rising Much Faster than Black Men. What it Means for Work, Family and Race Relations.” I was glad they put it on the cover since it’s only the kind of thing I’ve been hearing about since I was in 7th grade.

Sara Libby called it the media’s “sick obsession”: “…placing a unique blame and shame on black women says much more about the mostly older white men who continue to dominate media management than it does about the women they keep bizarrely attributing blame and shame to with these pieces.”

Well, now black women are writing those pieces. So, I guess we have to shift our focus from The Man and the “lamestream media” (Ha, ha, Sarah Palin! Ha ha!) to the fact that the idea that no woman could possibly be content in life without marriage has now seeped from a black educated woman’s quandary to a widespread interracial epidemic. I wonder what’s keeping all the insane stories about women in healthy, committed relationships that aren’t heteronormative or baby-producing from blowing up the blogosphere. I know, I’m getting crazy here, but could the new assaulted minority in American life be the content single woman? What? You got your rights and jobs and houses and you want to be…unmarried? Single ladies of the world, welcome to what it’s like to live as a single black woman in the 21st Century. Let’s hope sisterhood is powerful to shield us from the never-ending barrage of stupidity.

J. Victoria Sanders is a journalist, writer and journalism lecturer at the University of Texas Austin. She lives with Cleo, her mastiff/shepherd in Austin, and blogs at

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