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The Unanswerable Question – Powerful Woman Monologue #10

March 19, 2012

About the Author: Lorraine is a 25 year old south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is her life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. Her main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything she attempts seriously well. She spends her free time eating chocolate, hanging out with the smartest person she knows (her 3 year old niece), volunteering with a local youth outreach program and collecting bottles of nail polish. She tweets at @LateLorraine. She blogs at The Late Party Girls. She reads at Childhood Trauma.

 

Last April, I traveled to Tampa, Florida with my family for my cousin’s wedding. We arrived at my aunt’s house the night before the ceremony, and it was chaos. I sat in a corner with my older sister, hyper-aware of all the people surrounding me.

“Who’s that?” I asked her at one point,  gesturing towards a tall brunette I’d never seen before.

“That’s the bride,” she said through clenched teeth.

“Oh. Whoops. And who’s that?” I asked again, pointing at a different girl who appeared to be about my age.

“That’s your cousin.”

“Oh.”

On and on it went. My family is just that big. Whenever we are gathered en masse that way, all making rounds, kissing and hugging and talking over each other, I can guarantee you, that this will happen to me:

“Ay, Lorena, when are you going to get married?”

It doesn’t matter how healthy I look. It doesn’t matter what I am wearing or what I’ve said. It doesn’t matter what job I’ve landed or how I did in school that semester. All anyone in my family ever wants to know about me is, of course, a thing I have no way of knowing. Not right now, at least.

—————————————————-

I am a voracious reader. I’ll just openly admit that about half of all the books I read can be classified as YA. I am in no way ashamed of this, though I can imagine some of you groaning at me. What can I say? Sometimes you just need a little simple entertainment.

However.

I have a bone to pick with the way females are portrayed in so many of these young adult books. It seems the current trend is to create a girl, throw her into the most impossible situations (basically, her family should be in danger, the government should be after her, she should be breaking laws or challenging norms and her world should be quite literally ending) and then ask this important question: which boy will end up with?!

Seriously? Why can’t YA girls be action heroes, without also having to choose between Incredibly Handsome Boy A and Incredibly Handsome Boy B?

Why is the message being sent to young women everywhere, “no matter how many things are happening in your world, what’s really important is whether or not you pick the right boy.”

——————————————————–

Yes, I do want to get married and have children. I just don’t understand why “when are you getting married,” is an acceptable question to ask, especially of a single woman, like myself. I wouldn’t ask someone, “hey when do you plan on dying,” or “hey looking to get fired from you job any time soon?” because ultimately, these are unanswerable questions.

My life will not start after I say, “I do.” I lead a life right now. Ask me about it.

There are some of you reading this who don’t ever want to be married. There are some of you who are married. There are some of you, like me, who have to field questions about the future, and are still getting up for bouquet tosses, which are getting more and more sparsely populated.

We don’t all look the same or dress the same or speak the same. I don’t understand why we keep allowing people to push on to us this same expectation: marriage. babies. Talk to me when you get there or about when you plan on getting there.

Well…

Dear Family (yes all million of you) and Young Adult Authors,

I’m not really sure which boy I’m gonna pick right now, but the good news is, that I have a life beyond my relationship status! “Wife” is only one of the roles I will in my life play. What makes women amazing is that we play so many roles, and we have the power within us to play them all incredibly well.

What makes the media (and sometimes even our own families) so infuriating is that they often forget this.

I hope that one day, we can break the stigma of being single past a certain age, because no, I don’t own any cats and yes, I do have normal social skills.

I don’t NEED a boy, you know. I can be a heroine without one.

Love,
Lorraine

About the series: Powerful Woman Monologues are compiled in response to the media’s representation of women as inspired by the film Miss Representation. If you would like to participate, email me. Any kind of creative contribution is welcome from anyone.

Special thanks to Ashley of Little Leaf Photography & Design for graciously creating the badge for our series!

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2012 11:11 am

    Every time I read something you write, I fall a little bit more in love with you. It’s really quite unfair, you know?

    I get asked the ‘when are you getting married?’ question all the time. I get asked that by relatives I don’t know how I’m related to, I get asked that by waiters in Zanzibar, I get asked that by gits on planes who take up all my leg space, I get asked that by taxi drivers the world over, I get asked that by my parents’ neighbours. I get asked that question all the time. The implication is that I’m too old, that there must be something wrong with me, that I must be difficult to have not found myself a man yet. The implication is that I’m somehow incomplete because I’m not married.

    On Saturday, a girl at the airport who asked for directions and stayed for tea asked me, ‘So, when are you planning on getting married?’.

    My responses range from giving people the evil eye to polite responses to lectures to sarcastic one-liners.

    Re: YA Lit. This. THIS! Why can’t we have a strong female character who just doesn’t give a shit about boys? Is that inconceivable? This is exactly my gripe with Hunger Games 2 and 3. I hate that this is the major question in a strong female character’s life. I hate it. That it is always, always, always (in the end) about the boy.

    I would marry you any day. x

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 1:49 pm

      It’s only unfair if I didn’t feel the exact same way about every single thing you write. We’re mutually falling in love, I suppose?

      It’s so weird because it’s kind of a personal thing. Why is it okay for anyone, but especially strangers, to wonder when we’re going to make such a big decision. YOU DON’T KNOW ME.

      And then, yes, beyond that you get to the incomplete implication. The, “you are doing something wrong so when are you going to fix that” undertones.

      I don’t mind romance, honest. It’s just that if your government were hunting you down, would you really be worried about who kissed who? Jesus, we’re women, not idiots. Bah.

      Anyways, thank you. For reading for your offer of marriage. Many hugs and kisses.

  2. March 19, 2012 12:21 pm

    As a woman who didn’t get married until she was well into her 30s, can I give you an AMEN for this post? My life will not start after I say, “I do.” I lead a life right now. Ask me about it. resonates loudly with me. Just the other day, I was reading a beautiful post about a woman and dating. She made some reference to how much dating sucks and how it’s only to find the one. NO NO NO, was my response. I argue you need to enjoy dating just as much as you will enjoy life when you find the one … because what if your dating journey lasts over a decade (like it did for me). What a waste to consider that time painful and not fun! Oh, and to all those people who ask? I used to come up with something snarky that would quickly shut them up. Tell them you looked at your taxes and you’re actually better off filing single. Or tell them you’re not getting married until your gay friends can get married, too. Or whatever it is that will get people to back down (and fast)! =)

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 1:58 pm

      I will completely accept Amens! 🙂

      I love the line about filing single. I also am known to ask people if they want me to go out and get impregnated RIGHT. NOW. I also tell my mother that finding someone isn’t a problem. “I can go find a man outside right now if you’d like,” I’ve been known to say. That usually shuts people up.

  3. March 19, 2012 1:10 pm

    Yes! Thank you! I’m in a long term relationship and get that question ALL THE TIME. Maybe I don’t want to get married! Maybe I like things the way they are! Maybe it’s none of your business if I ever get married or have babies, so stay the heck out of it! I’m not asking you when you’re going to lose 10 pounds, or have kids, or any of the other things that aren’t really anyone else’s business. I make it a point to NEVER ask these kinds of questions because to me, they are just not that important. I’m much more interested in what you’ve been reading lately, for example, so let’s talk about that instead.

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 2:02 pm

      Exactly! We give so much importance to marriage and babies, and yes, they are important, but sometimes it feels like people lose that I have a whole personality, all these preferences and habits outside of those things because society has somehow deemed marriage and babies all important.

      I’ll talk good books with you all day long. 🙂

  4. March 19, 2012 5:34 pm

    Lor, we have discussed all of this a millionty times before, so all I am going to say is that I just love you so very much. The end.

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 2:03 pm

      I thought of you while writing especially because I finished Delirium #2 and dear Lord. That book made me a tad angry.

      Anyhow, love you so very much.

  5. March 19, 2012 5:46 pm

    “My life will not start after I say, “I do.” I lead a life right now. Ask me about it.” THIS is why I love you and am so happy to be your bloggy friend. I might own a cat, but as you know, I lead a full life and have wonderful social skills. I’ve had boyfriends, I have loved and lost, I’m not a lesbian. So much of my life seems to be tied to those eternal questions of getting married and having kids. It is enough to drive any single woman bonkers. As you said, we lead lives that are just as important as anyone who has a husband and children. We are powerful. Amazing monologue girlie!!

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 2:20 pm

      Thank you! Those are always the assumptions, right? Bad social skills or a lesbian. Like a strong, single woman is an impossibility. But you are right. We are powerful. 🙂

      Lor

  6. mrsoneday permalink
    March 19, 2012 6:38 pm

    I love this, hard. It’s like you climbed into my brain and rolled around a bit. I had those same things asked of me. When I found out that I couldn’t have kids, that question, “When are you gonna have children?” cut me deep. I hated explaining myself and I shouldn’t have had to do that.

    Thank you for bringing up the “Boy A vs. Boy B” scenario too. How about a novel where the woman is just a bad ass sans boys? I agree 100%. Well done!

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 2:22 pm

      My heart goes out to you. I have all sort of health complications that may hinder my chance of having kids so I know how you feel. Again, it’s just such a personal thing, and people make it THE important thing, the thing that defines us.

      And it isn’t.

      Love triangles will be the death of me in reading.

  7. March 19, 2012 7:00 pm

    Perfectly stated. I’ve always wondered why this is an acceptable question to ask anyone (particularly single women) when you tend to get smacked for most other things. I know that marriage is a pervasive part of our society/cultures, but I’d like to think that people have enough of a heart to understand that it’s not always for the best to ask any woman (relationship or not) when they plan on getting married. Unless there is a ring on my finger, don’t ask; let me figure that out and get back to you. Until then, talk to me about everything else I’m doing or have done.

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 2:23 pm

      Exactly! Let me have a personality outside of my plans for marriage. Yeesh,

  8. arielleblogs permalink
    March 21, 2012 9:41 pm

    I adore this post. I’m 28, very single, and resent the fact that so many people seem to think my life sucks by the very definition of the fact that I’m not in a relationship. What, I can’t be happy unless I’m spoken for?

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 2:24 pm

      A man completes me? The only thing worth talking about in my life is whether or not I’m spoken for?

      I protest.

  9. March 23, 2012 1:42 pm

    I loved this! What a great piece. And I totally agree about the YA. Did you ever read the Abhorsen books by Garth Nix? I always liked that the girls in that were awesome and shouldered this huge burden by themselves, and yes there are boys around but that aspect of it is very much relegated to the background. And there’s no love triangle. Which is nice.

    The ‘when do you plan on getting married?’ has now morphed into ‘well, I guess you’ll be next!’ with a nudge and a wink at every. single. wedding Scrubs and I attend. Why do people do this? And is this going to continue forever? If I do get married will the question change to ‘…and when are you going to have a baby?’ and then if I have a baby ‘and when are you going to give him/her a little brother/sister?’

    Why are people so unreasonably nosy??

    • Lorraine permalink
      March 23, 2012 2:25 pm

      I’ve never read those books, but honestly you had me at “there’s no love triangle.” I’m going to add them to my “to-read” list.

      And you are right about the question evolving. So not only are people unreasonably nosy but they are never satisfied? STOP IT PEOPLE.

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  1. Powerful Woman Monologues: A Round Up « Belle Renee

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