Credit: James White

Credit: James White

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.

"Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

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.

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  • For a long time, black women have been demonized of their personal choices. This demonization must end. Just because a woman voluntarily chooses to be single, have children later on, or even decide to be celibate doesn’t mean that she is less than a woman. A woman is a woman. There is no shame in a woman or a man delaying marriage or not being married. It is a shame where society tries to force people to confirm to reactionary standards of how to live instead of allowing people to live their own lives. Shonda Rhimes made great accomplishments. She will be the first to say that she isn’t perfect, but no human living on this Earth is perfect. Her imperfections and our imperfection never negate our humanity. It just shows that we have an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to make a difference in the lives of our people. A person with a spouse and a person without one should be treated just the same. People have the right to critique or praise her shows. Yet, one thing is plainly clear. That point is that the determination, the strength, the intellectual curiosity, the passion, and the courageousness of black women are here and it will continue to exist forever more.

  • Noirluv45

    Our society is built upon a one-size-fits-all mantra. Individuality is not allowed. Listen to the music. Look at the TV shows. Look at how women are supposed to fit in a box — all women are supposed to mirror White women. I have a White friend who told me that one of the qualities he admires about Black people is our ability to show emotion and to set standards that most of the world follows whether they want to acknowledge it or not. One thing he pointed out was how, generally, White people are not allowed to show emotion, and that point was evident when Tom Cruise leapt upon Oprah’s sofa expressing his excitement about meeting his now, ex-wife, Katie Holmes. We are all supposed to be the same and to follow the “norms” people (I don’t know who) have put into place. Therefore, if a woman is unmarried at a certain age and childless, she’s a creature from another planet. We have to push past the expectations others set for our lives and teach our children to do the same. No one can live our lives but us.

    • Well said Sister.

    • Noirluv45

      Thank you, brother.

    • You’re Welcome Sister. There are tons of black women who are unmarried, who are some of the wisest, wittiest people that I know.

    • Ang

      Well said!

  • GeekMommaRants

    These idiots, no one mentioned how to become a TV writer. That’s a shame.