Authors of the newly released The Truth About Being Single, Lakeisha Rivers Ekeigwe and Neva Lockhart say that black women are being told to lower their standards if they want to marry an African-American man.
“The plight of the black man has been put on the shoulders of the black woman,” Ekeigwe told theGrio.
“Black women are told to look for a black brother and pull him up because he may not be in your socioeconomic bracket or have the same education.”
Lockhart said, this was certainly the case, as she observed growing up in the ‘70s when black women were pressured to marry their “baby daddies.”
“A lot of black women settled that way,” she said.
Nonetheless, the authors agree that the unmarried black woman is no different from the unmarried white woman. They assert that the “pain, loneliness and fear” of unmarried women around the world are the same.
That’s why the authors wrote the book- to tell unmarried women around the world that it is perfectly OK to want to be married. After interviewing about 300 women and following reports in the media, the authors were convinced that society is forcing women to feel that marriage is no big deal and that unmarried women should accept their pre-destined fate of single-hood.
Lockhart, a businesswoman, counselor and therapist, is still waiting for marriage. She says she is a true believer in love and women, including black women, should never settle.
“If I get married at 70, I’m gonna walk down the aisle at 70.”
As African-American women over the age of 45, Lockhart and Ekeigwe know all too well that unmarried black women have been singled out by the media. They say the image of the African-American woman who is proud of being unmarried and facing difficulty with finding a life partner perpetuates an unfair racial stereotype that is far from reality.
“The truth is we [black people] didn’t invent Match.com and Eharmony.com!” Ekeigwe said.
Furthermore, the book confronts “lies” from experts and scholars telling women that their innate desire to be married is wrong and stems from low self-esteem. For years, the likes of comedian and The View co-host, Joy Behar and feminist icon, Gloria Steinem, shared their views that marriage is not so important. The feminist slogan, popularized by Steinem, that says “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” embodies the idea of women independence.
But, surprise was no stranger when the public learned that Behar had married her boyfriend of 29 years this year and Steinem, who once dissed marriage as an institution that destroys relationships, finally married at age 66 in 2000.
“We are biologically wired to not be single. That’s why being single doesn’t feel good,” Ekeigwe said.
“Throughout life, women are preparing to menstruate, menstruating or recovering from menstruating and menstruating enables you to mate and produce a child and you need a male to do that.”
And while the book represents unmarried women of various backgrounds in their 40s and beyond, Lockhart and Ekeigwe say they hold a particular place in their hearts for African-American women.