The Declaration of Singlependence: Portraying Single Women in Matriarchal Storytelling

So much of fiction rides on a woman on the hunt for a husband. She wallows when she is single, as if it were a disease. She obsesses to the point of failing the Bechdel Test as she has no other thought in her head. She finds a man and falls madly in lust with him, conniving and scheming to ensnare him. She will get into a cat fight with a rival as if there was a shortage of males on the planet -- or at least the man has convinced her that he is the last man on earth with a functioning penis. Then comes the triumph of the trap and the Happily Ever After, except in most stories about married couples, the man is so stupid and insensitive that he would not survive two minutes alone unless his Mommy-wife was there to forever meddle in his life.

Well, so much for that happy ending, kids!

When it comes to Patriarchal fiction, women are forever scheming and dreaming about marriage, when they really ought to avoid the bargain altogether. It is not cool to do all the thinking for another grown adult with no cognitive disorders.

The two extremes of a woman's life in these stories encourages women to wish to waste their lives.

Yet a partnership between two adults who love and respect one another is fantastic -- so long as the two have good motives for wanting to make a life with the other.

In the Matriarchal, the emphasis is on finding and then knowing yourself first before worrying about finding and then knowing a potential life partner.

The Matriarchal is about loving every stage of your life as you appreciate each one: if you are miserable single, you will double the misery once your are married. A wedding is not some sort of magic wand that allows you to be passive as it erases all your problems away.

Here, female protagonists explore their own essence first by establishing their careers, dreams, quests, friends, and even personality. They are a whole person who tests not only themselves, but also their life theories. They learn about their abilities. They learn where they fit in. They are single and independent -- or singlependent, as it were.

They can date or not. They can have many suitors or one or two. They may marry, or not. Their sexual orientation is not the issue. If she is bisexual or gay, she will still be the woman about town, working toward her goals and making her surroundings better than it was before her arrival. If she is straight, she is not any different in her behaviour.

She is first getting to know who she is as a person before she embarks on thinking about the next phase of her life.

She cannot plan for everything, and in the Matriarchal, life can and will alter her plans. She may have wished to become a businesswoman, but war breaks out and now she is building an Underground Railroad to stop the bloodbath and she finds out she has talents in war just as she does in peace.

She is not retreating, but revising her plans according to what she needs and what she wants. She has a vision and she will ensure she sees her goals through.

Through all of her phases, she will often meet a love interest who moves her -- but not every one will be her One. She is not desperate. She is not dependent. She loves, but if who she is dating is not who she wants to spend the rest of her life with, she lets go.

Because she knows there is always someone else out there. She is not driven by panic, but by allowing herself to feel without hesitation.

She is not looking to play Mommy-wife or trophy wife. She wants an equal partner who can stand on his own, but also wants to stand with her. They are individuals who can also be a unit together. They have their own lime lights, but they can share one together.

When she finds the person who moves her the most, her life enters a new phase.

But even if she doesn't, she will enter new phases of her life. She may devote herself exclusively to her career or her causes. She can do all that with a partner, but perhaps she has other ideas as well.

The Matriarchal celebrates the diversity of life choices. It cherishes independent thought. It does not serve as some sort of grim reminder of some monster known as The Biological Clock that frightens women with roars that sounds like ticking.

She will not settle, however. She will not compromise herself or lie to herself. She is allowed to make mistakes and try again, and learn from her flawed life theories.

She allows for life to happen without being passive: she doesn't plan to find love, but as she connected to her world in various ways, love is part of life. No panic. No rush.

Because love is not a contest or war, but what happens when hearts open to find new paths to explore.