By: Ashley Cobb
Being a black woman is a struggle, being a successful black woman is a bigger struggle, but being a successful, single black woman that’s the ultimate struggle. Black women have so many struggles that we have to overcome on a daily basis. We have the struggle of career, trying to find the perfect mate, the internal struggle as well as coping with the outside world. On top of all of that, to make matters worse we still have to struggle with whether or not we will have children.
The Work Struggle
As a black woman early on in life, you have to decide what you desire more, the career, or the family, because corporate America shuns the belief of family over career. If you choose career, the hopes and dreams of the family goes on the backburner, because your main focus now becomes building your career. There’s a saying that goes “you have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have”. This is reality for Black women, we have to struggle to compete in a man-made career advantage world. As, black women we have to constantly prove ourselves worthy of our jobs.
The world seems to think that black people in general are immune to hard work, as if Affirmative Action is the only reason we got into college in the first place (shout out to Abigail Fisher). We have to prove daily that just like “them” we earned our opportunity, it was not handed to us by some law. We also have to fight against the angry, hostile black woman mentality that is automatically associated with our blackness.
The struggle of having to carefully form your words in emails, staff meetings, or daily work interactions, because you don’t want to come off too aggressive and not approachable is tiresome. Black women in the 21 century are still unappreciated and undercompensated for the work that we do. In President Obama 2014 State of the Union address he stated that women, on average, earn 22 percent less than men, or 78 cents for every white man’s dollar. The work struggle is hard and it’s even harder without having the support of a husband and or lover that you can come home to at the end of the day and unload.
The Dating Struggle
The struggle is real to find a partner that is your equal when you have all of your sh*t together, especially a brother. We’ve all heard the statistics black women largely outnumber black men when it comes to college degrees. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported that Black women currently earn about two thirds of bachelor’s degrees obtained by African Americans. Black women hold 70 percent of all master’s degrees and more than 60 percent of all doctorates. Black women also hold a majority in enrollments of law, medical, and dental schools over black men.
So the likelihood of finding a black man who is on the same academic and professional level as you is slim. Hence, the struggle now becomes do we settle, and if we do what qualities do we settle for, or do we do like others and date outside our race. A lot of women want a man who can bring something to the table, he may not possess everything that she possess but he needs be an asset and not a hindrance. However, being a hindrance or assets is objective, to the right sista, making a six figure income the brother who’s only making 35K could be asset, if he possess other qualities. Though to another women he could be considered a burden, because she wants a mate who is more on her level. Is she wrong
for wanting that? Women are looked at as “Gold-Diggers”, if they say they want a man in a certain income bracket. We are expected to take whatever comes our way, but men aren’t held to those same standards. Men typically date women who are their equal. No, money is not everything in a relationship, however with finances being the leading cause of divorce, these are questions you have to ask yourself. What am I willing to settle on to find the right man for me? As a result some black women choose to date outside their race to find someone who is more their equal.
The Intrinsic Struggle
The biggest battle we face as people, is the battle of the mind. The struggle of our thoughts can be damaging. As a woman we want to have it all… the house, the career, the car, the friends and the husband/family. But what happens when you can’t have it all, when the husband that you thought would have been here by now is out of your reach. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you realize that the career that you so desperately fought to have can’t keep you warm at night.
Feelings of depression start to creep in, you being to entertain thoughts like “what’s wrong with me?’ or “How can I be successful in every area of my life but not this one?’ A lot of people have no idea about the silent personal struggle women go through to put something as imperative as starting a family on the back burner. It leaves you thinking if you made the right decision, especially when all of your other friends are married and having kids and all you have are degrees on a wall.
The Extrinsic Struggle
So when are you going to get married? You’re clock is ticking, when are you going to pop out some babies? You are a good catch, why are you still single? Hearing questions like these are all too familiar for single women, though usually asked in love, having to constantly answer or defend your singleness makes you feel like you’re not good enough. Society defines happiness for a woman by her ability to obtain a relationship with a man. So if you are single and successful by society standards something must be wrong with you. The fact that you have umpteen degrees, doesn’t matter because all society see’s is that your still single.
The fact that you’re successful in your career, nope that doesn’t matter either, because you don’t have a man to share it with. The fact that you own your home or that you are independent means nothing……because at the end of the day a woman is supposed to have a family. The pressure of society weighs down on you, even for women who don’t want a family, they too still have to succumb to the pressure of what others think they should be or do.
The truth is everyone is not going to get married, the ratio of men are far less than that of women, so the struggle to accept that can be a difficult one. However, having to be bombarded with questions at every family function and holiday doesn’t help to overcome this conflict. If anything, questions like these can agonize your worth, and basically pour salt into an already open wound.
The Fertility Struggle
I am without children. That does not make me “not a woman…..” . I watch the show Mary Jane religiously, on the show the lead character, Mary Jane faces a lot of the single successful woman issues, but one of her biggest struggles is the struggle to have a child. Mary Jane like so many black women found herself single, successful in her career, but past a certain age and still wanting a child. Once you get past a certain age, somewhere around mid-thirties you have to start asking yourself real questions like, do I still want children, and if I do am I willing to be a single parent? What ways will I go about getting pregnant? Do I find someone I know, sperm bank or adopt? Or do I just forgo all of my desire for parenthood due to the fact I’m single.
These are all questions I’m starting to ask myself, even though I have few more years before I hit the mid thirty range, I’m already preparing myself mentally just in case my last name never changes. Do I want to be a single parent….no… but I do want to be a parent. Being a single parent isn’t ideal but in this modern world who determines what’s ideal. There are so many types of non-traditional families in today’s society. The possibility are endless when it comes to fertility, it’s just a matter of finding what works for you and getting past the fairy tale of what the ideal family is supposed to look like.
As a reflection I pose some questions to you, how do we fight this ongoing battle? Why do we as women judge other women when we do “make it” as if there wasn’t a previous struggle? What are steps we can take to “overcome”? We all need to reflect and ask ourselves these things so that maybe the struggle won’t be so real for the next generation of single successful black women.
About the Author:I teach by day, blog by night. Love God, Trap Music, Ratchet TV and all Things Dope! When I’m not educating the future you can find me voicing my opinion about life on dopeblackchick.com .