I said to Michelle recently that I was self-imposing a moratorium on talking about women being single. I especially don’t ever want to talk about WHY a particular woman is single, or a group of women collectively are single. As an unmarried woman in my mid-thirties, I simply CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE. I’m tired of defending my life choices to concern trolls inquiring about the state of my neglected uterus and ringless left hand. I’m tired of people telling me I’m missing out, especially when those people are often divorced or unhappily married themselves. And as God is my witness, I will painfully and messily kill the next person who suggests I haven’t gotten married because I’m “too picky.”
But if you’re a single woman and aren’t getting your dose of contempt from nosy relatives and ladymags and reality TV and underminer-y outposts of the blogosphere, guess what? ABC’s got a show for you!
Tracy McMillan’s single camera comedy, “Why You’re Not Married,” was picked up by ABC, according to Deadline.com. Dreamworks will produce the show along with ABC Studios. The comedy explores the current state of modern American love — especially the dynamic between the millions of attractive chicks between the ages of 25 and 45 who want to be married… and the men who seemingly refuse to commit to them.
McMillan has written for “Mad Men” and “United States of Tara”, both shows with intelligent, nuanced female characters and a more enlightened portrayal of gender issues than much of what you’ll see on television. But McMillan’s blogpost that inspired the series is not even remotely nuanced or intelligent. It’s a regurgitation of every poisonous retro stereotype out there—e.g. that women have to be non-threatening so as not to trigger a man’s insecurities, that casual sex is a no-no because women can’t have sex without falling in love—all delivered in a girlfriend-y tone that’s supposed to sound like tough love but actually sounds way more like self-loathing.
Herewith Tracy McMillan’s “Reason’s You’re Not Married”:
1) You’re a Bitch
2) You’re Shallow
3) You’re a Slut
4) You’re a Liar
5) You’re Selfish
6) You’re Not Good Enough.
Someone’s been internalizing cultural misogyny, amirite, ladies? Just a little?
We’ll set aside the fact that there are plenty of women who don’t want to get married. There are plenty who do, and McMillan is very specifically addressing them. But what’s even more fucked up than the list itself is why McMillan thinks we should believe her alleged “expertise” on this subject:
I know why [you’re not married]. How? It basically comes down to this: I’ve been married three times. Yes, three. To a very nice MBA at 19; a very nice minister’s son at 32 (and pregnant); and at 40, to a very nice liar and cheater who was just like my dad, if my dad had gone to Harvard instead of doing multiple stints in federal prison.
I was, for some reason, born knowing how to get married. Growing up in foster care is a big part of it. The need for security made me look for very specific traits in the men I dated — traits it turns out lead to marriage a surprisingly high percentage of the time. Without really trying to, I’ve become a sort of jailhouse lawyer of relationships — someone who’s had to do so much work on her own case that I can now help you with yours.
Yes, you read that right.
Tracy is apparently great at getting married. She doesn’t stay married, and by her own admission, she picks the wrong men. So marriage for her has been a catch-and-release program, not a lasting partnership. But she got the ring and the license—three times!—and that’s what matters! That’s what you want for yourself, isn’t it? Let Tracy help you! Because she’s been married and you haven’t!
Unconvinced? I can’t imagine why.
Let’s hope the show never makes it to pilot—for the good of all humanity, not just single women. If you take all those sexist stereotypes and all that ridiculous glorification of getting married no matter what and turn it into a TV show you’d have…what’s already out there. We don’t need any more of it and the networks don’t need to be paying “jailhouse lawyer” Tracy McMillan to dish it for us.