Saturday, July 17, 2010

White Blackbirds: Reviewed

So I got the White Blackbirds zine (about "women who aren't married and don't want to be"), and it was really cool. One thing that surprised me was that most of the women profiled were in romantic relationships, or had even been married in the past. I know that being in a romantic relationship isn't the same as marriage. However, if you're been with someone for a long time and live together, certain aspects can become similar. So most people in the zine aren't talking about the everyday experience of marriage, but its legal/religious/social connotations on a broader scale. Katie, the zine's editor, wrote in her introduction that unmarried women, in her opinion, need role models (one of hers is Morrissey!). And I definitely agree with that.

The interview I could relate to the most was with Hannah, age 21, from the UK. She talked about Boston marriages and when asked what she was passionate about, had this to say:

Creating community and community feeling-- it's become a cliche to say, but it's true: there's a lot of distance in modern life. We've never been so connected via e-mail, phone, the internet and on and on and on, but the biggest malaise of our time seems to be how we feel isolated from everyone. Community isn't automatically there because of family, heritage and roots anymore. It has to be built and worked on and thought about, and people are busy and absorbed in their lives- which have a gap. Generally a community-shaped gap. Whether it's a community of people who happen to share the same sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political beliefs or an interest in baking, gardening, or BDSM, that sense of community is important to our lives.

A lot of other people made interesting comments as well, like one woman, Nine, who observed that "...I don't think men get quizzed quite so much about whether they want kids, and if they don't want them, I don't think they're so likely to get that patronizing smile and 'You'll change your mind, once your biological clock starts ticking...'". There was another interviewee, Ciara, who got "Spinster" tattooed on her knuckles to "remind myself to continue to be critical of traditional romantic myths. i feel that these concepts are especially damaging to women, encouraging us to postpone other significant parts of our lives for love and romance." I thought that was a pretty badass tattoo idea, however, I decided to take my cue from Queen Christina:

Although with these Paint skills, I agree, it's astounding that I could still be single.

Apparently, there was so much interest in the zine that there's going to be another volume. I'm going to be in it! Which is pretty exciting. Doing my interview brought up some thoughts that I'd actually never considered before. For awhile, I've had a vague suspicion that marriage may not be "for me", however, no one had ever asked me to articulate why this was, until now.


Eli said...

Oh! You'll be in the zine! That's hella brill. do post bits from the article and where we can get it when it comes out. I like the bachelor tattoo idea. Of course, I just like tattoos in general... I always knew I couldn't do the marriage thing. When I was like 10 my favorite song was White Town's "I could never be your woman." It'd be interesting to talk to a lot of purposely single women and find out when and why they decided against marriage.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I got hold of the zine and was very impressed, so I'm looking forward to a second volume.

heidi said...

Unrelated, but thought of you!

Ily said...

Yay! A few months ago I saw the band Cats on Fire, and they did a good cover version of "Your Woman", it's on Youtube if you want to check it out.

Heidi, whoa, that's interesting! Actually it does relate, because it seemed like one reason the people in the article lived as men was because they didn't want to get married.

heidi said...

Ily, it's also rather telling because they just wanted the freedom to not fall into their gender stereotype - yet the only gender with limits was the female gender... I wonder how many folks would do that now, given the chance.

Carolyn said...

Your Woman is my 3rd all time favorite song!! I have no other comment

Ily said...

So what are 2 and 4??