It feels somehow wrong to write about Ariana Proehl. She’s the creator of a YouTube video calling for the “Death of the Tragic, Scientifically Less Attractive, Unmarriageable, Single Black Woman Narrative” in 2012. Proehl, like many Black women who have sat through a slew of monthly trend pieces, news segments and blog posts analyzing our alleged miserable dating lives and the multitude of causes (always attributed to our generalized disposition, basic expectation and the overall lacking of Black men) wants all the fuss to finally come to a full stop.
“Deading it, it’s done, it’s over,” Proehl says in the video. “So after 2011 I don’t want to read any more articles. I don’t even want to read any more well researched, intelligent thoughtful responses. It’s a waste of our brain trust that has better issues to be attending to and has real issues that need to be solving.”
Sorry, but I wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t give Proehl—and the others who champion single Black women– some shine for positivity and truth-telling when I’ve always responded, and by unfortunate proxy, spread the fear-mongering negative news. Proehl might not agree, but what the conversation about single Black women needs more than anything in 2012, isn’t the moratorium she calls for, more like more conversations to undo the damage by giving sensible souls a voice. Maybe just maybe that will combat the idea that their sum total of a Black woman rests on whether a man puts a ring on it, and if she can call her partner, if she has one, her “huszzzband.”
The tragic Black single woman narrative is the deceased horse that seemingly everyone loves to beat. And it’s been effective. I hear traces of panic and fear from many of the clients I work with as a life coach, from the dating and relationship questions I answer on Formspring to casual conversations where women I barely know pull me aside and say with more than a hint of panic and a full cup of shame about being single, “Can you help me meet someone?” The damage has been done, and calling for a moratorium on the issue as a whole won’t clean up the BP-sized spill.
Forgive me for adding to the Single Black Woman Archive of Stories, but I feel compelled to because the affirming, positive stories like Proehl’s don’t get told often enough up on the mountain. When Psychology Today releases a story “verifying” that Black women were less attractive, or when Tyrese adds his two cents about Black women being “too independent,” or author Rick Banks publishes “Is Marriage for White People?”, I can’t go to Facebook or Twitter or e-newspaper or e-mail without hearing about it 50-11 times.