Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tracy McMillan Tells Women Why They Aren't Married

I am about done with Tracy McMillian, after reading her polemic screed in Huffpo.  It seems that she feels that unmarried women are liars, sluts, bitches, shallow, selfish and simply not good enough.
1. You're a Bitch.
Here's what I mean by bitch. I mean you're angry. You probably don't think you're angry. You think you're super smart, or if you've been to a lot of therapy, that you're setting boundaries. But the truth is you're pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it's scaring men off.
The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband. Here's what my son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn't think so. You've seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men. I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man's fear and insecurity in order to get married -- but actually, it's perfect, since working around a man's fear and insecurity is big part of what you'll be doing as a wife. 2. You're Shallow.
When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. So it stands to reason that a man's character should be at the top of the list of things you are looking for, right? But if you're not married, I already know it isn't. Because if you were looking for a man of character, you would have found one by now. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit.

Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Or someone who knows what an Eames chair is. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl. And men of character do not want to marry teenaged girls. Because teenage girls are never happy. And they never feel like cooking, either.

3. You're a Slut.

Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore -- but they're not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you're having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop. Why? Because past a certain age, casual sex is like recreational heroin -- it doesn't stay recreational for long. 

That's due in part to this thing called oxytocin -- a bonding hormone that is released when a woman a) nurses her baby and b) has an orgasm -- that will totally mess up your casual-sex game. It's why you can be f**k-buddying with some dude who isn't even all that great and the next thing you know, you're totally strung out on him. And you have no idea how it happened. Oxytocin, that's how it happened. And since nature can't discriminate between marriage material and Charlie Sheen, you're going to have to start being way more selective than you are right now.
Is this woman projecting herself onto others? 

First let's start off with the fact that she assumes heterosexuality in this piece. Not all women are searching for a man.  There are plenty of women that are search of a hot looking woman with legs for days. It is also important to note that there are plenty of lesbians that would LOVE to be married, but cannot because it is NOT legal.  The very assumption of heterosexuality, is absolutely an acknowledgment of McMillian's failure to acknowledge her privilege, but why make distinctions when the project is to shame all women.

I wonder what McMillan would have to say about women who are polyamourous and are looking for a third person to marry.  Do they suffer from the same supposed issues?  Are they to be excluded from a discussion about marriage because their involve more than two people?  When we speak about institutions like marriage, without including certain bodies, we send a message that normalizes the majority, while penalizing the minorities for even existing.  Ignoring them and erasing them because we feel that we have a larger point to make  simply works to deny our personal privileges.

Relationships are complicated and to say that women who are not married are faulty individuals is sexist.  Being single is not an indicator of one's moral failings.  As you know, the unhusband and I have been together for over 20 years -- and let me tell you -- it is work.  For a relationship to be successful, both parties have to be committed to working on their relationship, making sure that they don't take each other for granted, working on maintaining the lines of communication, and most importantly, nurturing the friendship that brought you together in the first place.  One person doing a 100% of the labour is not a relationship.

From reading her anti-woman screed, it is clear to me that McMillan has internalized a lot of the misogyny that is so common place in this society.  Nowhere in her screed, does she seek to make men equally responsible for any relationship problems, and instead McMillan asserts that it is women, that are at fault.  In fact, judging women on their sexuality and calling women bitches for feeling angry at times, is specifically attacking them for not performing a submissive form of femininity.  Why do women not have a right to their rage, but men are entitled to it?  It seems to me, that she is suggesting women become perfect little stepford wives, to keep the men in their lives happy.

What never seems to occur to McMillan, is a woman's right to be happy.  Let's just say for the sake of argument, that a woman completely changes who she is, to become this submissive stepford wife, that McMillan is suggesting, and is unhappy with her marriage, while her husband is content -- how does this equal a positive, affirming relationship?  If you have to change who you are, to make someone love or commit to you, then they are not the right person for you. It should never be marriage to the first person with a pulse, but marriage to someone who loves and respects you.  I am sick and tired of women being told to change, or to lower their standards for the sake of a man.  The very idea that there should be separate responsibilities for a man than a womanm tells me that we still have a long way to go before people stop overvaluing men, at the cost of women.

Editors Note:  I made a mistake in the original post, and confused Terry McMillan with Tracy McMillan. Terry is the author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and it was Terry who involved in the marriage with Johnathon.  I apologize for my mistake.