“‘Millennial’ Women Not Wedded to the Idea of Marriage”


Beautiful. Successful. Black. Single. These are words describing many black “millennial” women of the 21st century. This article highlights the staggering rates and numbers that show just how many black women are not married and do not get married. The writer of this article, Maya Rhodan, states that some women (and men) do not want to get married. This is not because marriage changed, but because of how people are viewing the idea of marriage. Many put a higher value in family and having children then they do in having a marriage. Rhodan states that despite this, many black women remain hopeful for something they have wanted for so long. The age of marriage for blacks has increased a great deal from 1960 to 2010; “70 percent of Black women between the ages of 25 and 29 have never been married, compared to 23 percent of White women.” The article ends with the idea that marriage for blacks won’t completely disappear, but rather will be redefined just as race was once redefined.

When I first started reading this article, I immediately thought of how during slavery black women’s sexuality was a prominent topic of discussion amongst whites. So when I read the intro below, that is exactly where my mind went.

“CNN has covered it. ABC News’ Nightline has done a feature on it. It has appeared in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.It has been discussed on NPR. Oprah, in her prime even tackled it. The “it” isn’t the deficit, the economy, health care, education, or gun violence.“It” is Black women’s prospect of marriage in the 21st century.”

It seems as if society is unwarrantedly concerned with black women and marriage (or the lack there of). As a young black woman myself I cannot help but think: Why? What changed between 1960 and 2010, even 2013? After slavery, blacks, women in particular, fought so hard for something that was only reserved for whites: an acknowledged marriage. Black women were seen as unable to be submissive and lady like, let alone be those things to a husband. After being freed, many black women worked hard to show society that they can indeed be lady like and uphold the pristine image of being a homemaker and a wife. Many were privileged to stay home and not work and fully cater to their households. On the other hand many others could not afford to do this. Unfortunately, stereotypes such as the “welfare Queen”, “the angry black woman” and many others have truly made it hard for black women to disassociate from. And despite this fact, women are still hopeful and are not giving up. Just as black women worked relentlessly to redefine and fight against the many negative images placed upon them from slavery, many black women today are fighting that same fight and are showing that they can be successful and career driven and get married. Even though the statical numbers are high, a good amount of black women are showing society (particularly other black women) that it is possible to have a working marriage complete with values, ideals, and respect that their ancestors fought diligently to have.


“Is marriage worth it for black women? These women say, ‘Yes!'”

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This article asks the question, is marriage worth it for black women? This challenges whether or not marriage is even desirable to black women for three reasons. First, African-American marriages are more likely to end in divorce than Whites and Asians. Second, “certain research studies” question whether or not marriage is equally advantageous between men and women since statistics show that married women are more depressed, less successful, and less healthy than single women. Lastly, with the falling employment rate of men, marriage can present economic and emotional burdens that may outweigh the positives. Despite these three points, black women are still saying yes, marriage is still desirable and it is very worth it. Blacks need to work together to strengthen and empower the institution of marriage. The writer, Ama Yawson, ends with a hopeful tone by saying that even though the statistics and the numbers may make the thought of marriage seem pointless, readers are encouraged to not give up on it. If a person desires marriage then they should fight for it.

This article is a great example of how the institution of marriage, or lack there of, during slavery affects marriage between blacks today. By the age of 30, only 52% of black women get married as opposed to 81% of white women and about 71% of Hispanic women. As I read this article, I could not help but draw parallels between the period of slavery and today. During slavery, women and men did not live in a traditional husband-wife household. Plantations, even states, separated families so the children lived with the mom without the presence of a father.  Not saying this for all men and all families, but for the most part, the lack of a father’s presence has been missing since slavery.  A lot of women took care of and provided for themselves and their children. As a result, Black women then developed the stigma of being too independent and driving men away with her dominance. Marie-Gabrielle, a black and single CEO in her twenties was quoted in the article stating that she “bemoans the negative media image of black women as not being worthy of love and protection from men and or society’s institutions.” This negative image stems from stereotypes that were created long ago. This negative media image is a continuation of the Jezebel stereotype and the idea that black women are not “ladies”. They were not seen as Victorian ladies, therefore they were thought of as being unable to love or be loved. Since slavery, blacks had to fight to upkeep their marriage due to distance and for whites to see their marriages as legitimate. Back then Black women were unable to enjoy the freedom of an “ideal marriage” and today almost half are struggling just to get married at all.