*“There will be white blackbirds before an unwilling woman ties the knot.” (Irish expression)
I was going through my Google Reader recently and found this great post from Bitch on a zine called “White Blackbirds: conversations with women who aren’t married and don’t want to be.” You can possibly get a copy at the creator’s Etsy site, although right now, it seems to be sold out.
The women interviewed in the zine were asked to answer a series of questions, so instead of writing about marriage in a non structured manner, I’m going to answer the questions myself. I’ve been afraid to write about marriage in the past, because I don’t want people who are reading this blog to feel like I’m judging their life choices. At the same time, though, I think it’s important to say what’s going on for me.
Why don’t you want to get married? So first, I want to make clear that as a person who is heterosexual, I come from a position of extreme privilege in stating that I don’t want to get married and declaring to opt out. The fact is that I will always be allowed to get married and if I ever decided to, my relationship would be celebrated and accepted (and people would probably be relieved). That being said, I have never wanted to be or get married.
Like having children, I perceived marriage as an inevitability-it would sort of happen to me, as it did to everyone else, because that’s just what you did. When I realized that it was actually a choice, I knew that I would not choose it. It’s completely unattractive to me. There are fewer words that make me more uncomfortable than “husband” and “wife.” I don’t care if people sanction my relationship, it would not make me any more accountable to the person I’m involved with. It feels very unnatural to me, the concept of committing to someone for your entire life, when you grow and change. It’s a grand experiment in willing suspension of disbelief that I will not participate in.
I’m tired by this trope of marriage being the ultimate demonstration of love and not seen as the completely commercialized, sexist, heteronormative industry that it is. I know for some people, there is religious significance tied into it, but for me, there is not, and so it makes no sense. I wish we could imagine another alternative, or that we didn’t all believe it was something we wanted. There have to be other ways of making a family and living a life that isn’t based on state sanctioned bullshit.
Are you in a relationship now? Ha. Do fictional characters count?
Do you have children? Do you want to have children? Again, still, emphatically, no. I’m seeing a lot more about women who are childless by choice lately, which is great, we’re becoming more visible. On the other hand, the fact that we keep having to reassert it, prove it, is super annoying. It’s such a great, active example of sexism, to ask women who don’ t want children to keep stating it, as if we weren’t sure about what we think and feel.
Things you’re most passionate about in life? Writing, justice, traveling, art, coffee.
Do you have any unmarried role models? Most of my friends are younger than I am, but I’m 32, so a lot of people around me are either planning to get married imminently or are in relationships that resemble marriage. I know a lot of people who are questioning the institution, but few who don’t want to get married. My role models are people who are original thinkers, curious folks, but I don’ t know very many (read: any) single, straight Jewish women who are planning on staying that way.