February 28, 2011
Women Without Men
I went to visit my friend D in the apartment where he’s staying with his husband while they’re in the city. This apartment is a dream on so many levels, in square footage, decor, bookshelves, etc. It’s also the home of a woman who has lived there for ten years alone. She has never been married, and has no children. This house has always been hers, and only hers, and it’s where she lives a full, beautiful, creative life. I imagined myself in every room, growing into every corner. Because he usually knows what I’m thinking, D said, “You could live here and write and work, and it would be just yours.”
For women, it seems, it is always about someone else. We’re taught to compete for men because we’re expected to find someone to share our lives with, to be caretakers to. We’re taught to believe that this is our nature. In spite of intellect and creativity and the many other things that make us up, our energy is really expected to be channeled into other people, namely, men.
A woman who elects to not share her life with a man, but to keep it for her very own, pays a price. She’s a lesbian, which demonizes her in a whole different way, because among other things, never, ever should a woman’s primary relationship be with another woman. Other alternatives: she was abused as a child, she’s been traumatized by a bad relationship, or she just doesn’t know what she wants. No matter what, her priorities are all messed up (“Yes, dear, those other things are nice, but the point is to find a man.”)
Women who aren’t focused in some capacity or another on this goal are castigated for acting contrary to the nature of women, and not just by men. As women, we can be deeply hurtful to one another. We judge the choices we do and do not make, instead of supporting and affirming each other, corroding our vital female friendships.