Day 32 - Coverture, Suffrage & Self Partnering
Emma Watson recently said in an interview that she is not single, she is self-partnered. What a great example of framing! I like this. Mostly because it supports what I am already doing. But I think that I would like it even if I were coupled. It is a more accurate statement about how I want to feel about not being part of a couple. This is not to say that I always feel this way. Sometimes, I feel very, very single and alone.
This reframing of an old concept is overdue in my opinion. This “single” concept needs to be reworked, redone and realigned for today’s self-partnered people. I would really like to get rid of the stereotypes as, in my opinion, they do a lot of damage to people’s self image.
If you are single and a woman you are one of two things: Worthless/not choosable OR a man hater.
If you are single and a man you are having the time of your life, carefree and loving life OR you are a womanizing pig that screws a new woman every night.
Again, we are talking stereotypes here.
Why is it that women’s identity is so man-dependent?
A quick history lesson:
It has to, in some part, be related to the fact that less than 200 years ago women were chattel. Married women and their rights became feme covert. Their legal rights and obligations became subsumed under the rights of their husbands. In a legal fiction, women became one with their husband. Coverture didn’t really begin to end until the mid 19th century. This meant that a married woman could not own property amoung a whole host of other things she could not do.
Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John Adams in 1776 the following:
“In the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. ("Adams Papers Digital Edition - Massachusetts Historical Society". www.masshist.org. Retrieved 2018-07-31.- Wikipedia).
John Adams response?
‘I cannot help but laugh”
WHAT A DICK!
Now Abigail was talking specifically about the right to vote for women but it is easy to see why women (even Abigail Adams) wanted some autonomy from men.
It wasn’t until 1848 when New York passed their Married Women’s Property Act that many other states followed. It was a slow process for women to have the rights we do today. We only got the right to vote in 1920. Next year will mark 100 years since we were able to participate in electing the people who govern us! And we still haven’t elected a woman as president.
Ok, I am back from my historical feminist rant. I think our history is important to understand how we can be given rights but then still subjugated by culture...
My above example demonstrates my point precisely! We have made strides in women’s equality but here and now we still participate in our own oppression by allowing these stereotypes to influence our behavior. We accept that we are less than without a man because our society and culture reinforces this idea. It is just another version of John Adams sardonic laugh.
Personally, I would like to see some gender equality on the whole single front. People are deciding to self-partner. They are doing this for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons might be aligned with the sterotypical reasons. I personally am going to eschew those gender specific reasons for the more gender equal self-partnering ones.
I am currently self partnered BECAUSE of my worth, not because I lack it. I am choosing to be self partnered not because I hate men but because I am refocusing my life and working on my most important human relationship...the one with myself. I do this to improve my own life but also with the idea that someday, if I decide to not be self-partnered anymore, I would like to be a better version of myself in that partnership. First I must learn to be a good partner to myself, then I have a prayer of sharing that (if I so chose) with someone else.
I think most men today are making the same choices for similar reasons. Most men I know are not out there single and alone having the time of their lives and fucking someone new every night. The men I know are looking for a partner. They are seeking something more than getting laid or living a confirmed bachelor’s life.
So if the sentiment is pretty much the same amongst the genders, why the disparity in societal mores?
I think oppression takes a very long time to get bled out. Especially when the historical power player has been able to control in a subversive way. Getting the subjugated to actually oppress themselves.
So, for me, I am no longer single. I am self partnered and my feeling worthless because of that fact ends now. I am not going to participate in my own oppression anymore. I am self partnered, enjoy men and their company and refuse to characterize this time as anything but positive. That is not to say that I do not have a lot of work to do. I am a product of my upbringing and society. Certain ideas are going to take some time to reframe and that all starts with me seeing that often, I am doing it to myself. Like the whole idea of woman being equal to men, that is going to take a very long fucking time. But like my historical sisters...
“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead”