Posted on April 28, 2010

Media Wages War on Single Black Women

Cocoa Popps, Huffington Post, April 26, 2010

{snip} Historically black women have been portrayed as ignorant, loud, lascivious and harsh toned, swivel-necked hens. We’ve also been depicted as intimidating and unapproachable figures. Now the media is attacking us for being single. According to the media if you’re a successful black woman with standards, you may just not “get a ring on it.”

Articles like “Black Women Should End the Blame Game”, generalize the complaints of why so many black women are unmarried. The article on states that black women’s standards are too unreasonable, a sentiment echoed in a various publications, including Essence magazine, which is by and supposedly for black women. Hard to believe that one of the goals of Essence magazine is to empower black women when they run articles suggesting black women engage in acts of desperation and go to strip clubs to meet men. {snip}

Even mainstream media outlets like ABC’s Nightline are adding all kinds of combustible fuel to the fire with their feature titled, “Why Can’t Successful Black Women Find Men”. Gee ABC, thanks so much for your concern and for coming up with a title suggesting there’s something wrong with being successful and single-and that it’s only a black problem. {snip}

{snip} It’s as if the media at large is saying: “Listen black girls, first we’re going to do our best to make you feel unworthy and unlovable. And when you prove us wrong and lead happy, emotionally healthy and empowered lives, we’re going to bombard you with messages indicating all that education and self affirmation will backfire, because no decent black man will want you now! {snip}” {snip} [This] strategy of attacking self actualized black women is not the answer.

Jimi Izrael, who was also on the Nightline panel and Harper both suggest that most black women are looking for an ideal black man. Izrael says, “Women are looking for men who don’t exist,” and Harper says 95% of black women are looking for the top 10% of men. {snip} Izrael says black women want a Denzel Washington fantasy and wrote a book, The Denzel Principle, {snip}, and goes on to spout the ridiculousness that “All black women think they’re Michelle Obama.” {snip}

It’s insulting to say all black women lack a realistic and compassionate view of what it takes to have a substantive relationship. And since the frame of the conversation regards successful black women, the mere fact a black woman has worked hard to create a bountiful life for herself completely disproves the theory she’s waiting on a man to save her. Mr. Izrael please check your perspective (or just talk to more black women) on what you think black women want.

If in fact the success of single black women will inhibit their ability to find a black mate, the media should shift the focus and examine the security/commitment issues of the black men who are supposedly so intimidated and address the socio-economic/political and psychological factors that play into a black man’s feelings of emasculation when confronted with a “strong black” woman. Black women should not be vilified and victimized for creating good lives for themselves.

So single black women, keep achieving and keep it moving. A good man wants a good woman–period. Do not take to heart the shallow criticisms and explanations of the media and its players. It’s all game and propaganda to again try and trick us into believing we are unlovable. {snip}.

Successful, single black women–it seems we’re the new hot topic for the media.

Ever since that Newsweek story years ago, where it was declared that 42.4 percent have never married, the discussion never ends.

They say we’re alone because we climb the corporate ladder faster than black men, we’re better educated and creating a gap.

When that story broke, I was in my early 20s. My girlfriends and I freaked out and fed into a season of paranoia, bad decisions and premature anxiety about marriage and children.


Some say we’re too picky. Others say we need to look at other men. Most point to the lack of good black men. I’ve seen stories questioning why we can’t find a man and if marriage is no longer the “in” thing for blacks.

It’s insulting.

And then there was last week’s “Nightline Face-Off”–“Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?”–featuring a panel of men and women unsuccessfully reaching a resolution.

This is not a new conversation. The numbers haven’t changed. Just stop it already.

I’m done believing the hype. Most of those friends I had when the study came out are married now. And what about my black girlfriends in interracial relationships? Don’t they count as black women in love? {snip}

We are not sad, pathetic, desperate women. Yet these stories paint us that way.

Stop talking down to me and the women I know. We don’t need to be fixed.

Did it ever occur to anyone that these unmarried women are happy? Some enjoy the single life. What about those of us who haven’t walked down the aisle yet but are in healthy relationships? {snip}


Sure, it’s a little more complicated for a woman of color–there are almost 2 million more black women than black men. But let’s not act as if there are no good black men. There are good black men just as there are good men of all races. {snip}

Yet I feel the need to stand up for black men. The women are unfairly tinted as go-getters with impossibly high standards. But the men get labeled as underachievers, dogs, absent. {snip}