Shonda Rhimes and Oprah Winfrey have something much more in common than we all think. Sure, they are two African American women that have achieved great success in the entertainment industry but there’s more. Neither one of them are married and neither really ever wanted to get married.
Scandal creator, Shonda Rhimes sat with Winfrey for an exclusive interview earlier this month when she revealed a controversial confession. “I was able to finally stand up and say, ‘I don’t want to get married. I said that out loud. I said it to my family. I said it to my friends. I said it to anybody who asked. It’s never been a dream of mine. ”
During the segment, Rhimes, 45 and Winfrey, 61 went on to discuss the intense pressures placed on women Â to walk down the aisle, even when they don’t necessarily want to. Rhimes, is the mother of 3 adopted daughters, while Winfrey does not have any children. Rhimes suggested thatÂ the expectation for women to get married is very similar to the expectation to have children. “It’s a lot like the desire to want to have children in our society,” she said. “You’re supposed to want it, and if you don’t want it, what’s wrong with you?” Â While Rhimes has never wanted to tie the knot she did mention that she did always want to become a mother. “I’m one of those people, since I was 5, I could tell you I was going to have kids. I could tell you I was going to have three. I could tell you they were going to be girls,” she added. “But I have never wanted to get married. I never played bride. I was never interested. I don’t know what it is; I never wanted to get married.”
Oprah though routinely not one to discuss her relationship status, she actually addressed her unusual views on marriage as well. She mentioned that she once considered marriage with longtime boyfriend, Stedman Graham but then realized that it wasn’t really a personal priority when he did finally propose to her.Â “The moment he asked me to marry him, I was like ‘Oh, God! Now I actually have to get married?'” Oprah admitted that her andÂ Graham agreed to postpone their nuptials, but years have since elapsed and the two have never spoke about it again.
“What I realized is, I don’t want to be married, because I could not have the life that I created for myself. I couldn’t do it.~ Oprah Winfrey
Both bosses agreed, that admitting their lack of desire for marriage out loud provides some sort of freedom from what they felt was “a dirty little secret.”
That brings me to a very important question. How many women actually hold similar perspectives but refuse to openly discuss it and tell their friends, family and significant others how they really feel? Has marriage become a played out dream, that the women of today have no intention of making a reality? OnlyÂ 30 percent of Millennials say that having a successful marriage is â€œone of the most important thingsâ€ in life, according to the Pew Research Center, down from even the 47 percent of Generation X who said the same thing in 1997. In 2010 1 and every 4 American suggested that marriage was becoming obsolete.
In 2015 black women are the United States, most educated group but also the least married. The proportion of black college graduates aged 25 to 35 who have never married is 60 percent, compared to 38 percent for white college-educated women, according to Bill Frey’s book, Diversity Explosion. These days many black women figure to have better luck finding Waldo than finding a husband fit to their personal standards.Â There are many factors that determine if women are going to marry. Economics, education, career, compatibility in a mate and many more but how about offering no other explanation than, JUST NOT INTERESTED? Forget statistics such as income levels, disproportion in education, lesbianism, or evenÂ homosexuality from male counterparts. Maybe there is a simple reason for the large numbers of unmarried black women. There may be a chance that some women, like some men just don’t want to marry.
Sure there certainly is a such thing as personal and professional balance. Some women opt to delay marriage to pursue careers and education while some women are simply unbothered and unshaken by the idea of walking down the aisle. Playing house, co-habitation, splitting finances and just plain old growing old together is not every woman’s end goal. In previous generations having kids, was frowned upon if the equation didn’t include marriage but maybe society is in massive denial aboutÂ statisticsÂ and in dire need in playing catch up.
Marriage to some women is viewed as nothing more than a social construct that she is tired of being encouraged toÂ incorporate into her life. If she is not stressing a “Big Day” or this biological clock that people love to bring up then why are you? Some women doesn’t wish to marry, but that is perfectly ok.Â In fact what is referred to as “some,” may actually be “many.” Perhaps we all need to let go of the “she just mad, she don’t have a husband” mentality. Marriage, though it can be a beautiful thing is not the end destination for every woman and society should be accepting of that reality. For women, it should not take 45 and 61 years to publically express the lack of interest and desire to elope. Instead marriage should be reserved as a personal decision that is made uninfluenced by society and it’s unforgiving and unreasonable expectations and norms.