Single women often get a bad rap. They’re constantly belittled in the music, media, and even by their peers. In an effort to bring the sexy back to being single ESSENCE called on a fabulous panel of women to discuss at the ESSENCE Music Festival.

The panel included ESSENCE magazine Relationship Editor Demetria L. Lucas, ‘Army Wives’ star Wendy Davis,  Steve Harvey Morning show co-host Shirley Strawberry, and actress Keisha Knight Pulliam.

The ladies addressed the pressures single women face to defend their unmarred status, the perks of being single, and the many myths out about living single.

On ignoring the pressures presented from society and your peers Demetria was adamant about women not giving in.

 “There’s definitely pressure for women to be single,” she says. “People define you by that. It’s always, ‘Where’s your husband at?’ You’d be crazy to commit your life to somebody if you’re not ready. Being single can be amazing and wonderful and much better than being committed sometimes.”

The idea of focusing on things other than your marital status came up quite a bit among the panelists who were all in agreement that life’s too short to focus solely on men.

“Before women went to college to find their husband and now it’s not like that,” says Keisha. “Now more women are focusing on finding themselves and their careers and their accomplishing so much more. If you don’t even know who you are you don’t even know what you’re looking for and that’s a disaster.”

Both Wendy and Shirley have been married before and offered advice on the subject from more of a reflective standpoint. Both Wendy and Shirley are divorced moms who are open to dating again, although Shirley is open to marriage again but Wendy says she’ll pass

“I was married for the wrong reasons because I thought, oh my goodness, I need to do this,” says Shirley. “That’s what happens. You get into a bad relationship or a bad marriage and you end up getting divorced and being single again anyway. Just wait until it’s your season and your time.”

For those women who don’t see marriage in their future, Wendy offers this: “Whether you get married or not it’s really, really important to stay true to yourself. If the man is not right for you don’t marry him. When I got married I was not expecting to get a divorce.”

When asked what’s most frustrating about the criticism single women receive Demetria had this to say, “It’s always about why women are single. We’re heterosexual beings so what about the men? They need to work on themselves too.”

Touché Demetria.

What are your thoughts on the state of single women today?

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