Yep, you clicked on that headline. We knew that you would…
Because this headline and the controversial article it accompanied (which you can read in full here) was one of last year’s most clicked on articles from US site, The Huffington Post.
That’s right, an article, which tells women why they’re not good enough has been shared a whopping 100,000+ times on via social media and email.
What’s unclear is whether the sharing was done by single women themselves or those who think single women should read it.
The basic argument made by writer Tracey McMillan is this: “if whatever you’re doing right now was going to get you married, you’d already have a ring on it.” She then proceeds to list the reasons why a woman might not be married (and why they’re all HER FAULT).
The reasons include:
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.
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.
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.
You’re Selfish. If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training.
That’s just a taste. Other reasons include “You’re a liar” and “You’re not good enough”.
Now, I could rant all day about why I think this post is absurd and that the way that it sets up marriage as the paramount goal of every woman’s life is insulting to our intelligence.
But I’m not going to.
Because I actually think there might be something to learn from McMillan’s article.
Why is it that in 2012, when women have access to the WHOLE internet, did this particular article shoot to the top of the ‘most read’ and ‘most shared’ posts? Why did hundreds of thousands of women choose to read this list of reasons why they weren’t married? And why were tens of thousands of them enamored enough by its points to publicly share it with their friends on social media.
I was one of them. I clicked. I read. Something in my brain went ‘this will be relevant to me’. Why?
Well, the reason is kind of obvious: I want to get married.
I don’t want to get married IMMEDIATELY. (My relatively-new boyfriend’s hyperventilating should be slowing a little now. Just breathe babe, it’s going to be fine). But I would like it to happen one day. With the right person. When we’re both ready.
Do I NEED to get married? Of course not.
My parents raised me – and so far the world has continued to teach me – that I really can have whatever I want from life. I have a great job, I live with friends not a partner, I don’t need a bloke to do anything for me other than reach things from the top shelf (and actually I have some excellent and very sturdy chairs for that) BUT…. At some point, I would still like wear a white dress, tell someone I love them and then spend a lifetime together.
And for some reason that has become something I am not supposed to say aloud. And it’s something most of my contemporaries wouldn’t own up to either. If we do so, it is with a real trepidation that other women will think we’ve betrayed the sisterhood or implied that women should live in some mad pursuit of a getting someone – ANYONE – put put a ring on it.