A Threat to Sexism and Male Domination

Many of us were moved by how validating the Single Women’s Workshop was. Sexism tells us that our lives are not meaningful “right now,” that we are “on hold” until we can have a romantic partnership. The sheer numbers of us—more than a hundred—created the conditions for reality to be more visible, for us to notice how good our lives are, including all that we have figured out.

Diane worked with us from the perspective that our goal is not to “fix” something about ourselves. This made it safe to work on the details of our lives as single women and on our relationship to marriage as an institution. It can be difficult to work on “institutions.” I had discharged about my parents as individuals for years. At the workshop I worked on them as a married couple, which let me discharge my early distress from a different angle and gave me a context for how my parents’ individual distresses had shown.

I led the workshop in a class on racism. I said how, in the United States, a disproportionate percentage of African-heritage women have never married (a significantly higher percentage than for women of other racial groups). There have been regular reminders of this in the news and social media. It gets framed to restimulate us. And it communicates to other groups of women, “At least you’re not like this group,” or “Don’t end up like them.” Single women who are not African heritage can look at this and challenge where they’re pulled not to notice and face what happens to Black women.

I left the workshop interested in and hopeful about my life in a different way. We got a sense of ourselves not as isolated women who “weren’t chosen” but as a group of women uniquely positioned to pose a threat to sexism and male domination.

Tokumbo Bodunde

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00