Why Marry When You Can Be

Jesse-Jane McParland, 9-year-old karate badass

Jesse-Jane McParland, 9-year-old karate badass

Why do you have to marry prince charming when you, yourself, can be pretty effin' charming as well?

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

There is this advice given to women, which is to find success in marriage. Now that we have progressed, rather than this advice disappearing, it is being given to anyone who dates men, whether they be woman, man, or trans. Marry a rich fella, marry a nerd — he may become a rich fella, marry the stable guy, marry the fit guy, marry the educated guy, marry the artist, marry the rock star, marry the athlete, marry the businessman, marry prince charming, and the sundry. The pattern I tend to see is also this accepted notion that people should marry someone who is likely to become rich, rather than marry someone who is — you know — likely to make you happy. And however we think we have progressed, often the answer to everything is the right guy.

Sometimes, I marvel at how surface level progress is. Rather than improving a situation, sometimes progress means allowing more people to partake in a given situation. So, here is my alternative: rather than telling people, especially women to marry a particular type of person, why don’t we just — you know — encourage them to be that kind of person. Why do you have to marry prince charming when you, yourself, can be pretty effin' charming as well? Or the academic, the athlete, the computer nerd — or if you’re insistent on money, why can’t you be the rich business person?

There is no reason they can’t. It just doesn’t occur to society sometimes. The playing field and how we treat the sexes is so lopsided, we sometimes forget that’s even a possibility, that women are capable of — you know — of doing stuff.

The cliche is to sleep with the producer, well, why not just become a producer? Both options are on the table. If you do it because you prefer the first choice, that's cool. If you do it because you forget the latter is also an option, well here's a reminder. You can also do both or neither; you have a lot of options.

In training martial arts, I have heard someone say to a talented female fighter, “Oh, maybe you can marry a world champion.” Waitaminute, why can’t she be the world champion? And it’s not that these people who say such things are saying women aren’t capable of accomplishing things; it just doesn’t occur to them that they are capable. They don’t see it often enough, it’s not visceral, it’s not a truth they know well. They almost must suspend belief or feel they need to be affiliated with feminism just to think women can do things. You don’t need to be a card-carrying member of a feminist party to believe women are capable. This is just science, it should be neutral. It should not have anything to do with politics. It doesn't even require belief, it's just knowing.

Look, they have legs, hands and arms, they can walk, carry stuff, they have a brain, they have an ability to speak and write, they can drive, I mean they have all the necessary things to handle tasks. You know this right? This shouldn’t be news.

This is not a male view, quite the contrary, this thinking is just as likely to be perpetrated by women. The advice about marrying a world champion? A man didn’t say it; it was a woman I heard say it. I’ve heard moms and grandmothers giving this advice. They, themselves, may believe their abilities are limited and need a man to come to the rescue. And yes, that’s conceivable too, some "other" can enter the picture and intervene to improve matters. But it’s also permissible to help yourself as well. That’s like a thing you can do.

This isn’t to say there is some conspiracy holding people back or not allowing people to talk about this. There is no, “Shhhh, we’re not supposed to mention that they are capable;” it’s more like, people are unaware, sometimes they forget — that’s all. Part of that is they don’t have constant reminders in the media to reinforce what we should already know.

During WWII, this was what typical job advertising looked like for women; then we went backwards for several decades.

During WWII, this was what typical job advertising looked like for women; then we went backwards for several decades.

It happens in LA (where I live), sometimes people completely forget that we have a beach and they never go — or forget there is the Hollywood sign and never end up going there even though they always meant to. There’s no plot to keep these people away from the beach or the Hollywood sign, it just doesn’t occur to us. Sadly, we only remember things we are constantly reminded of. Like being able to hold things in your hands, and then remembering, you can hold some stuff under your armpits as well. Sounds common sense but when you realize this, you're stoked. So useful, how did you go your whole life without ever using your armpits to hold stuff? Or that you can use your smartphone camera as a mirror. Holy shit!

So, we need a reminder that there are other options. It’s like a secret menu, “I can get that with fries and a drink? I forgot that was an option. Yes, I’ll get that. Do you guys still supersize? Oh, you never stopped? Well, I want that too.”

Here’s a possible sample conversation:

Hey, you should marry a doctor.
You know I can be a doctor too right?
Oh yeah, that’s right. You CAN be a doctor also! Yeah, why don’t you become a doctor?
Why don’t I just do what I want?
Oh yeah, that’s an option too huh?

In the end, marry who you want, become who you want. Or don't. But those paths are available to those who want to take them.