Yes, Single Women Can Send Photo Holiday Cards

Race Manners: Go ahead, send a picture of yourself. Arguments against this type of greeting are old-fashioned, sexist and depressing.

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“I‘m a 32-year-old successful, fun, funny, energetic, attractive and—wait for it—single! African-American woman. Does that mean I can’t send a photo holiday card featuring an image of myself? I’m being serious, and in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve already done this once, two years ago (skipped a year just because of a busy travel and work schedule). People thought I was being ironic or silly, and that’s fine, they can take it how they want. But this year when I talked about doing it again, I got some pushback. (Especially from my lovely mother. You know the deal. She’s traditional, etc. Plus she wants grandbabies and is a little panicked that I’m going to be some type of single successful black woman statistic, and my eggs are going to shrivel all up, so she probably doesn’t want to look at me standing all alone.)

“I’m happy for my friends who have cute babies and growing families. That hasn’t been in the cards for me so far, although I do want children and the chance to make a ‘normal’ holiday card, but for now I’m happy, I like the way I look, I want my friends and family to see a nice photo of me with their greeting and frankly, I don’t see the problem! Do you?” — Single for the Season

Do it! Seriously. Short answer: It’s your life and your time (and money) spent on VistaPrint. It doesn’t harm anyone. My guess is that the people who have a problem with this are likely the same ones who become so deeply angered and traumatized by seeing holiday decorations more than six weeks before Christmas that they’re forced to go on Facebook to post a rant about how hard life is.

I’d love to encourage these folks to redirect some of that holiday angst to issues like, oh, I don’t know, families going hungry? Short of being assigned to a local charity this season, they should be assigned to read 10 daily headlines and choose something else to be upset about. Anything at all.

Of course, there’s more underlying your dilemma than generalized holiday hate.

First, your mom’s concern seems to be based in part on media-fueled histrionics about how black women (and in particular, successful black women) never get married. Just this week someone made it their mission to use their highly mediocre Photoshop skills to remind us all that the cast of The Best Man Holiday married nonblack women. (Nate Hill gave his take on a similar view of love and dating with a photo project using white women as scarves. Don’t ask, just check it out here.)

We at The Root have said it before, and we’ll say it again and again: The “black marriage crisis” is not that big of a thing, and racial disparities that do exist are really overblown. Check the stats. Read them with Mom over some hot chocolate. Then tell her to read them again. Nothing about your race, gender and income means you can’t eventually have the family you want.

Once you remove those race-specific scare tactics, we’re still left with the potential criticisms that you’re being inappropriate, that this greeting card reflects some personality flaw on your part or that it’s unacceptable for you to be quite this celebratory about being single.  

Let’s talk about why those twists on the scrooge scrutiny you’re anticipating don’t make much sense, either.