For background’s sake, allow us to take you on a brief, but extensive stroll through Shonda Rhimes’ long list of accomplishments. The woman behind the production company Shondaland has created four wildly successful ABC series for which she also serves as executive producer and head writer, she has an honorary doctorate from her alma mater Dartmouth College, she’s been nominated for three Emmys, she’s a single mother of three by choice, she’s lot 127 pounds in a year — and that’s just what she’s done during the past 10 years.
Yet what does Shonda say she’s been most praised for in all of her hard-working years? Having a man.
In an interview with NPR the Chi-town native discussed her new book, “Year of Yes,” in which she tells the world more about her in a few hundred pages than any reporter’s been able to get out of her throughout her entire career. In keeping up her bargain to be more open to new experiences, Shonda’s doing more press than ever and it’s throughout the course of this media run that she shared this gem which spells out everything that’s wrong with society’s obsession with marriage.
“I have never gotten so much approval and accolades and warmth and congratulations as when I had a guy on my arm that people thought I was going to marry,” she told NPR’s Audie Cornish. “It was amazing. I mean nobody congratulated me that hard when I had my three children. Nobody congratulated me that hard when I won a Golden Globe or a Peabody or my 14 NAACP Image Awards. But when I had a guy on my arm that people thought I was going to marry, people lost their minds like Oprah was giving away cars. It was unbelievable. … I was fascinated by it because I thought, like, I am not Dr. Frankenstein, I didn’t make this guy — he just is there. Everything else I actually had something to do with.”
With experiences like that it’s no wonder Shonda makes a point to create characters who bunk the status quo. Speaking to that, she also told NPR:
“I really wanted to have characters who were living these lives that we’re all living; trying to do things [in unconventional] ways, because I know that we’re all wanting to or attempting to. And what really happens when you do? …
“Saying I don’t want to get married, or I don’t want to have kids are two of the biggest taboos for women to admit in our culture. And it’s fascinating to me how many women I know who don’t want to have kids who sort of keep it under wraps, like it’s their secret. … I have a friend who’s got a theory that if she just waits everybody out, people will start to think she’s infertile and people will think it’s too rude to ask.”
Oh the lengths women go to just to live the lives they want to. Thank God for women like Shonda who give others hope they can do things their way.