Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Renae Green | Marriage no benchmark of success for women

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Wedding rings

For the last week or so, there have been conversations around Krystal Tomlinson and her pregnancy for international dancehall artiste Beenie Man. Many persons, like one Lipton Matthews, have stated that she shouldn't be glorified for being pregnant while unmarried.

Mr Matthews also made mention of her unborn child being illegitimate, as if that were still a thing in this time and age.

Another article written by Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock states, "We would have simply liked to see such a personally life-altering development unfold under a not-so-common circumstance." Mrs Williams-Pinnock further went on to say that she feels disappointed in the way Ms Tomlinson has settled, which, by the way, is an assumption on Mrs Williams-Pinnock's part, as Ms Tomlinson has said nothing about remaining unmarried, nor should she have to.

I want persons to be aware that both perspectives clearly indicate the type of environment we continue to operate under in Jamaica. Mr Matthews' and Mrs Williams-Pinnock's articles clearly show that Jamaica continues to perpetuate a culture of misogyny, classism, and patriarchy that put unrealistic and unhealthy expectations on women.

I also find it funny that we talk about and belittle Ms Tomlinson for being pregnant out of wedlock but neglect, or should I say refuse, to talk about Floyd Green. Mr Green is more so in the public and political arena and has a child out of wedlock.

We behave as if the benchmark of a successful woman is marriage, and any woman who doesn't fit that mould is not successful, which, of course, is not an expectation we place on men. We must break this patriarchal double standard that women can only be defined by her relationship with a man.

I recommend that we move away from outdated and antiquated ideologies that put women in less-privileged positions by placing unrealistic and problematic expectations on them. We need to encourage our women and girls to stand on their own and show them that they are their own person. We should be commending Ms Tomlinson for her great work and achievements.

Ms Tomlinson ought to be applauded for succeeding in extremely difficult times. Ms Tomlinson, I applaud you and every woman like you to continue doing what you're doing and living your life.

You don't need to change. We do!

- Renae Green is associate director of TransWave Jamaica, an organisation that promotes the health and well-being of transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex Jamaicans. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and renaegreen88@gmail.com.