Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not only is he not into you; you're a failure.

Generally, I try to keep this blog light and sarcastic but occasionally I am confronted by a piece of information (or two) that compells me to dust off my trusty soapbox and speak my mind. Here we go.

Author Tracy McMillan wrote an article titled "Why you're not married" for the Huffington Post. The article (if you choose to not read it) is written to educate 30-something single women about why they just can't seem to land a man. The author makes sure to point out "But I won't lie. The problem is not men, it's you. Sure, there are lame men out there, but they're not really standing in your way. Because the fact is -- if whatever you're doing right now was going to get you married, you'd already have a ring on it."

She goes on to list six reasons women fail to get married:
1. You're a bitch
2. You're shallow
3. You're a slut
4. You're a liar
5. You're selfish
6. You're not good enough

If this list sparks your interest and you would like to learn more, by all means, click on the link and read away. If nothing else, it's an entertaining piece that promises to raise your heart rate and inspire blog posts such as this.

I don't want to talk about the article, whether I agree with it or not(I DON'T), or harp on the author. I read the piece as more of an entertainment post rather than lessons of life. My fear, however, is that hundreds or thousands of women have read it as a lesson on life. And that depresses me.

Are women so desperate, so lacking in self-esteem, that they would take this advice from a thrice-divorced, tactless author? She is giving advice on how to get married, not how to have a successful relationship. In fact, she uses sentences such as: "a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself" and "if what you really want is a baby, go get you one. Your husband will be along shortly" which, in my opinion, is signing up to be someone's slave. What happened to setting goals? What happened to a marriage being a partnership? What happened to compromise, love, and respect? I feel like feminism never happened. Apparently, marriage will destroy your identity, ladies. If that's true, why would you want to get married in the first place? If that's true, these bitchy, selfish, slutty, egocentric women know where it's at.

Actually, I feel that this article is for any woman who is married to give herself a self-righteous pat on the back for obviously not being any of the aforementioned things (God knows that no married woman is capable of being a bitch or selfish or shallow or lies or fill-in-the-blank) since she's married.

This might be my favorite part:
"Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something -- it's about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do. Probably because for them marriage involves sacrificing their most treasured possession -- a free-agent penis -- and for us, it's the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland." I don't think I need to add anything to this. The blatant stereotypes really speak for themselves.

Although Tracy McMillan brings a few sentences of grace toward the end of the article, I was mostly appalled by it. But then, I read the article "Why I'm not married (and it's not because I'm an angry slut)" by Jessica Ravitz on CNN.com and really wanted to put my fist through my computer screen.

I was so excited to see a rebuttal to Tracy McMillan's "Why you're not married" and had high hopes for it! I was expecting to read a strong article by a strong woman that was written to empower, not condemn. I wanted to read about choices and priorities. I would have been happy with the "Everything in its own time" argument or perhaps (dare I say?) the idea that God might be in control or have a purpose or one of those ideas that are usually scoffed at.

What was offered was this woman's life (sob) story about all of the circumstances that surround her singleness. Her early distrust in men, following a guy across the country who was obviously not interested, committing to a man and running away, several failed dates, etc is all narrated in this article. It read like an apology. While she was giving real life instances that counter the six reasons stated by McMillan, never once did she mention anything that would hint at self-esteem.

So here's my soapbox. If you found value or guidance in either of these articles, What are you looking for? Why are you looking to these authors to tell you why you are a "failure"? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe there is nothing wrong with you? You have gotten this far in life without McMillan or Ravitz to tell you what is wrong or who to blame. I'm guessing you are smart enough to get along without them a little while longer.

Women, you are exquisite. You are strong and powerful. You have the ability to climb mountains, succeed in life, and love in many, many ways. Why are we considered failures if we aren't married by 35 (or in Utah, 19)? Why do we allow our self-esteems to be destroyed time and time again by any ignoramus with an opinion? No one wants to be lonely and everyone wants answers. But, really. Are you willing to resign and condemn yourself in this offensive way?

Food for thought.


Meg said...

Awesome and well written Candace. I also read these articles and felt compelled to write something as well. Then I thought, who am I to say why someone is not married? You said it so well at the end of your post - all women are strong and smart and independent. That is exactly right - every person is different and I can give no advice as to why a particular person is not married. It could be by choice but mostly I think it's because of integrity, the women that don't sell themselves short by marrying the wrong guy, just to get married, or slut themselves out to have a connection with someone. These two women obviously have low integrity and self-esteem, so they must make themselves feel better by making other people feel bad. You stated everything perfectly. Boo-yah!

La La said...

I have so much to say about all of this, I don't know where to start! And you said it so well. I think there must be applications to "Why are you not STILL married"! I'm not entirely sure what they are yet - still thinking that out.

BTW - I am sad that I am no longer a random cutie.

Brianna said...

I agree with your post--no one should be telling others how to live their lives. But, I feel like I should stick up for my former coworker, Jessica Ravitz. While her article may not have made her seem so, she is a strong and intelligent woman. I think she meant to say "shit happens," but it came out wrong.

I agree with you, though, that we shouldn't have to give excuses for our lives. My favorite part of your blog: "Apparently, marriage will destroy your identity, ladies. If that's true, why would you want to get married in the first place? If that's true, these bitchy, selfish, slutty, egocentric women know where it's at."

I think you should write a satire version of the original post with things like "you don't wear enough makeup," "your boobs aren't big enough," and "you don't put out enough."

But I appreciate my man more now that it's been brought to my attention that he sacrificed a lot by being monogamous. He must miss his "free-agent penis."

Emilia said...

I won't rant...as i agree with everything you said. But from the resident single 32 year old...thanks for saying it. :)

she's beauty and she's grace said...

Amen sister.