Being single is not a curse
In April 2016 fierce controversy erupted on social media after one woman blogger, Natalie Brooke wrote an article saying she didn’t think getting married was an accomplishment.
“You don’t have to have a brain, drive or special skill set to get married. You just have to have a willing partner,” Brooke, 27, wrote on her blog.
Some social media users applauded Brooke for pointing out that the world still needs to come out of a cultural time when getting married was a woman’s license into the world of accomplishment because that meant they could only own their husbands’ accomplishments.
However, some commentators accused Brooke of attacking women for their choices and further raised a number of questions.
The first being whether or not it was appropriate to write that getting married is not an achievement in the first place. The second being: If it’s not an achievement why was she getting married herself?
Claire King immediately wrote a blog lashing at Brooke. “Getting married is an accomplishment”, was the blog title.
“You win the game of life. The way I see it, I was going to succeed on my own, even if I died alone.
What marriage means to me is that I get to build the world the way I want it to be by furthering my genes, propagating my values, and propelling them into the future long after I’m gone. I think that’s a hugely important responsibility that one should be proud of and that others should revere.
“More importantly for this argument, getting married doesn’t have to not be an accomplishment. Even in the face of any academic or professional triumphs. There’s a lot more to me than either a ring or a brain. I’ve got both. Deal with it. I’m proud of each and I’m not going to apologise for any of it. I’m certainly not going to put anyone down for it,” said King.
All these debates came after research from Texas Tech University indicated that never-married women’s social environments are characterised by pressure to conform to the conventional life pathway. This pressure was said to be manifested in women feeling alienated by society due to being single at a certain age.
Having noted that being single up to a certain age is not only a debatable issue in foreign lands, but a global issue, B-Metro conducted interviews with a few single women to find out their perceptions on the topic.
“There is an awareness of shifting reality as women become older; for example, the shrinking pool of eligible men and increased pregnancy risks,” said Sihle Ndlovu, a 28-year-old Bulawayo woman in a telephone interview.
She added: “If you are still single at a certain age there are reminders that you are on a different life path than most women when others inquire about your single status and during events, including social gatherings and weddings.
There are feelings of insecurity and displacement in our families of origin when parents and siblings remark about our singlehood and make jokes or rude comments.”
Generally single women get pressured to get married when they reach a certain age by some friends or family members who are coupled.
In trying to address this issue Zimbabwean author Brenda Madondo, 35, who is single, recently launched a book titled, “The Successful Single Life”, meant to empower women to have beautiful successful single lives.
“Being 35 and still single I have faced so many struggles in this society because most people think that I should be already married. The critics are so bad but I manage to continue pursuing my goals because I take each day as it comes. I have no right formula. Some times are good, sometimes are emotional but I never lose myself in those moments. I get over it quickly.
“I have dated here and there. There are times when I also feel that I want a partner and feel sexual urges. Every woman goes through that, but in life you need to learn how to control yourself for the better good,” said Madondo.
When asked why she is still single Madondo said: “I have been on a self discovery journey and I am thankful for it because today I stand balanced and whole. I noticed most problems in marriages are a result of problems not solved during the single life. Marriage is a life commitment to you and your partner and other external family members. So it’s a commitment I want to make when I am whole and when I have met someone I share interests with.”
Madondo’s book emphasizes that a woman should aim to be balanced in 10 pillars before getting married. The ten pillars are being successful in your purpose, education, emotions, physical life, psychological life, benevolence, spiritual life, economics, and social life and in pre-marital preparations.
Madondo’s approach seems to be common amongst most young women and tallies with research done in 2018 by Nancy Smith-Hefner titled “Being single in your 30’s isn’t bad luck, it’s a global phenomenon”, in which most young women were saying they wanted to finish their education and embark on fulfilling careers before getting hitched.
The research cites problems being faced by those following that path. Having concentrated on graduating and working hard the women ended up wondering how to find a partner. Sometimes, this state went on and on, becoming a source of stress and disappointment. The women worry: Is it just me?
“It’s not just them. In fact, what these women are experiencing is a phenomenon that’s being felt across the globe, from Brooklyn to Paris, Zimbabwe, to Japan. It might be leading to a fundamental change in the way we think about love and partnership.
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