A subversive notion

“Single women in our age bracket have a lot to say. We know what we want. We have careers, we have expectations.”

So says Michelle, a 44-year-old never-married woman who is a published writer and poet, produced playwright, theatre director, radio host, life coach, model, beauty pageant director and real estate agent.

Michelle is busy, happy – and single. Like many of the women I’ve interviewed for my book, she is not anti-marriage — nor is she desperate to get married.

Here’s the way she puts it:

“From a very young age I had different views about marriage and I felt like I don’t ever want to get married unless I know this is my absolute partner that I want to be with for the rest of my life. And that has put me in a position where I’m just not finding one or a partner is not finding me.”

Did she ever feel like getting married might limit her ability to do the things she wanted to do?

woman-happy-800-px“If I had to be honest about it, I would say yes, because I feel like sometimes, even in the natural realm of just being in a boyfriend-girlfriend type of situation, sometimes men are intimidated by women who want to accomplish things. So if you think in terms of marrying someone, you are kind of obligated to make decisions with that person. A lot of times if you have things you want to accomplish, and you’re married, your partner may not share that same support for you in doing so. So it would kind of limit you because you’re married and you should respect your partner.”

Which begs the question — and one which may be a subversive notion to people who think that being a wife and mother is the highest possible calling for any woman: does marriage prevent some women from fulfilling their destinies?

Would women today have the vote if Susan B. Anthony had had to balance her activism with putting dinner on the table for a husband every evening?

Would Condoleeza Rice have felt conflicted about the amount of travel she was required to do as U.S. Secretary of State if there’d been a husband raising an eyebrow every time she pulled a suitcase out of the closet?

As ruler of England for 44 years, would Elizabeth I have made different decisions if some of her energy and attention had been diverted to fulfilling the needs of a spouse?

Would Dr. Mae C. Jemison have had the time to gain the education and training she needed to have in order to fly into space as the first female African-American astronaut?

Are you married? Single? How does your marital status affect your career, activities, interests?

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