Welcome to the latest installment of Ms. Opinionated, in which readers have questions about the pesky day-to-day choices we all face, and I give advice about how to make ones that (hopefully) best reflect our shared commitment to feminist values—as well as advice on what to do when they don't.
Dear Ms. Opinionated,
I have broken things off with what seemed to be the love of my life. I am 26 and we've been together for nearly 7 years, he is the first and only person I ever loved.
There's a script for women in commercial country music that doesn't necessarily coincide with more mainstream stereotypes and assumptions about women. If you've ever heard Carrie Underwood's ubiquitous 2007 single, "Before He Cheats" (lyrics), you'll recognize the tropes.
Of course there are exceptions, but the ideal country woman is often blond (and white), feisty, world-wise, and hot. She is deeply possessive of her man, and aims to squelch competitors for his affection. She gives the appearance of working-class roots even if she didn't grow up working class, and she's equally comfortable talking about guns (Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead"), Jesus (Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel"), and heterosexual romantic relationships (Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away").
One of the newer variations on these themes is the girl group Pistol Annies (Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley). Check out the first single of their August LP, Hell on Heels (lyrics):
Steve Harvey's making headlines once again—not because of his underwhelming relationship advice but because his ex-wife Mary has called him out for cheating on her and leaving her with nothing when they divorced in 2005. Who knows if her allegations are true, but they've certainly undermined Harvey's credibility. This is good news for black women, I think.
The person with whom you have decided to have a monogamous relationship owes you fidelity, as you owe that person the fidelity you also promised. If that person breaks that promise, I can guarantee one thing: he or she made the choice to do so.