Professor Tracey unintentionally set off a mini-firestorm over at Aunt Jemima’s Revenge when she commented that a number of the brilliant, savvy black women in President-elect Obama’s administration are unmarried. Several of the women were married and are now divorced, others have never married. I don’t think this is necessarily a commentary on black people and our disdain for marriage, though I definitely think black people as a whole don’t see marriage in a positive light. I think it’s more indicative of a major paradigm shift in our national psyche and for that matter, much of the world’s. I’ve spoken of this before in my post on men being a disposable commodity. I suspect that many women are getting married in their twenties, having their children, then getting rid of their husbands so they can focus on their careers with fewer distractions. Further, many women, especially those who are high-powered and ambitious, don’t necessarily need a husband––they need a wife.
I remember having a roommate back in the day who was working hard to climb the career ladder. She had to travel a lot for work, and she commented on the fact that she was disadvantaged because her male co-workers had wives at home to run the rest of their lives. Even to the point of Fed-Exing them fresh suits from the dry cleaners, maintaining familial relationships, etc… She more or less had to do these things for herself. Even if she’d been married, it would’ve been difficult to find a husband who was content to be a house-husband. And contradictorily most high-powered women don’t really want the sensitive beta male types who make good house-husbands. They long for a dominant alpha male who is even stronger and driven than they are. It’s hard for alpha females to respect a man who is otherwise. Unfortunately, alpha males typically are not interested in a woman who is equally as powerful, and it creates a conflict.
I remember years ago watching an interview with Donald Trump whereas he talked about his divorce from Ivana. He very frankly stated that when she became a successful businesswoman their marriage was essentially over. It’s interesting to note that his subsequent wives have all been content to surrender the limelight to him.
It’s important to understand that right now we’re going through some major growing pains as it pertains to male/female gender roles. It’s going to require some major re-thinking of what masculine and feminine really are. We’re going to have to rethink what it is that makes a good spouse. Is it really impossible to love a man who prefers the nurturing role? Why is it that we have little problem with women who are driven and ambitious, but the male who would actually complement this woman is seen as ‘weak?’ Of course, there are plenty of men who can’t handle being with a woman who is more powerful, and there’s not a heckuva lot to be done there. I suspect, however, that there are a lot of men who have no problem being the partner at home Fed-Exing the fresh suits and taking the kids to pre-school each day.
If we really value the concept of marriage and want to rear our children in a secure marital relationship, it’s time to seriously start thinking about exactly what marriage is, and what we hope to gain from, and bring to it.