Posts Tagged ‘marital status’

Oh no, not another one. Not another smart, ambitious, career-oriented, fifty-something single woman nominated for the Supreme Court. What is the President thinking? It’s not just that she knew what she wanted to be early on and focused on achieving her goals. It’s not just that she’s excessively bright; nor is it about her baseball playing prowess. This nominee has never been married. She can’t know what it’s like to be a working mother. She doesn’t understand how she might balance the demands of growing children, equally striving (or supremely threatened) working (or jobless) husband, and stressful, high-powered job. She has some questions about the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In other words she’s (wink, cough, chuckle, cue the innuendos) “completely out of touch with the average American,”  or so says former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum , who knows a thing or two about being out of touch.

(By the way, the above picture of Kagan in the early nineties ran on the front page of the May 11th, 2010 issue of the Wall Street Journal and has provoked intense debate about what the Journal was “hinting.” )

Are we really having this discussion? Even behind closed doors or the backs of our hands, online or on Fox News?

KaganJoan Vennochi, writing in the Boston Globe on Sunday, asked: “why does a single career woman with short hair always have to answer the is-she-gay question?” A better question is: why should anyone, male or female, who is unmarried, have to address questions as to whether he/she is gay, straight, uninterested, unable to find the time to forge a long-term commitment, unable to find an equal partner, uncomfortable with the idea of matrimony, or perfectly content with things as they are? Of course, when it comes to matters of the heart, or perhaps something much lower, Americans display both easy offense and prurient interest in equal measure. (image downloaded from lawyersusa.com)

Single American women, however, are particularly distrusted, it seems, especially if they’re a bit older. From divorced cougars to “black” widows, popular culture maintains the stereotype of a woman on the prowl for a suitable mate. The fabulous forty, strong women, coming-into-our-own narrative is a lie; what we all really want is a nice guy to settle down with.

That’s a whopping generalization to make about what  Page Gardner, founder of Women’s Voices. Women’s Vote, has identified as one of the fastest growing demographics in this country–single women. Absolutely, there are many women who’ve hoped that circumstances would present themselves and stars would align so that they might discover (or rediscover) their soul mate. But those women are still leading their lives. Some are shattering glass ceilings or bounding over barriers; others are celingstepping over small obstacles or pushing past resistance every day. Along the way, some may have of necessity put the thought of a romantic pairing out of their minds; rather than being out of touch with average Americans, though, they are average Americans.

The successful, smart and lucky women, like Elena Kagan and yes, Condoleeza Rice are those who have discovered joy and satisfaction in their work and in being the trailblazers and why not? Love and marriage work for some and if it happens, it happens. In the meantime, there are places to go, people to meet, friends to cherish and trails to blaze.

(above image downloaded from nurses.com)

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