A Married Woman With a “Single Girl” Mindset

“I always hated it when my heroines got married.” And with that line, Rebecca Traister had me hooked. Author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation – my current reading fascination.

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And it’s true. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books, but even I wish Jane could have found happiness and stability outside of Mr. Rochester.

Which is an odd thing to admit, given the fact that I’m married. And, in fact, was married at the age of 26, when the median age of first marriage for women in the United States is around 27.

But reading this book, I’ve found that I much more identify with a single girl mindset. “Single women helped put Barack Obama back in the White House; they voted for him by 67% to 31%, while married women voted for Romney.” I can’t even fathom having voted for Romney, with his antiquated ideas on how much control a woman should have over her own body.

These are the kinds of things I’m struggling with in a Trump-elected United States. How could women have voted for a man who so devalues them that he admits to being able to grab their pussies without consequence?

It’s making me realize that women might just be women’s worst enemy…and married women might be the biggest offenders. Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder) worked outside of her home her entire life and yet, in 1936 was quoted as saying that a woman’s real career “is to make a good marriage.” Going further to state that “feminist agitation” had dangerously diminished the importance of the “deep-rooted, nourishing and fruitful man-and-woman relationship.”

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On being a woman: On being hated

Living abroad can be difficult, for men and women alike. Both sexes are treated like outsiders, miss family and friends back home, struggle with the loss of creature comforts, and can find it difficult to cope alone.

But for women, there’s more. As a woman living in Ethiopia, I constantly dread leaving my home. And I’ve had to carry this around with me for the last two years. It’s not something I talk about with many back home, mostly because I wouldn’t know how to say it, where to start. And I was afraid people wouldn’t understand, that they’d find me weak or ungrateful or exaggerative.

Luckily, I’ve met some absolutely incredible women (and men!) through my service here and one of them has spoken out about the treatment we receive in Ethiopia. She is heartbreakingly honest about the struggles she faces, I face, every foreign woman I know faces.

Her blog post is not easy to read, but neither is life here. And I wouldn’t be doing my duty if I only told you about the coffee ceremonies I attend, the projects I complete at my school, the travel I’m able to experience. Those are all aspects of living in Ethiopia, but the harassment is an aspect of my life too. Sometimes the largest aspect.

So, if you’re interested in what life is really like for foreign women living in Ethiopia (and, I suppose, in many non-Western countries), read this blog post:

On Being Hated by Danielle Luttrull