Eboni K. Williams is calling on young Black women to prioritize both their academic pursuits and marital pursuits while they’re in college.
On Wednesday, theGrio shared a video on Instagram featuring the lawyer and “Real Housewives of New York City” alum weighing in on TikTok’s summer trend — getting the “MRS degree.” The trend seems to involve college-age women sharing that they tackled two main goals while attending college: a degree and a marriage proposal. Many of the TikTok clips show women in their caps and gowns flashing sparkly diamonds on their left-hand ring fingers.
TheGrio wrote alongside the video clip that “a viral Tik Tok sparked a lot of conversation about how white women go to college to secure that ‘ring by spring,’ but that isn’t something that is usually on a Black woman’s agenda when attending college.”
Williams made a case for why she didn’t think it was a bad idea. “The reality that needs to be said out loud is that as Black men age, their desirability increases. Thus their optionality of women is always expanding,” the talk-show host said. “And the exact opposite is true for Black women.
“As we age, it doesn’t matter how much money we accumulate, our degrees, or professional accolades. The reality is that our marriage and partnership market value is depreciating with every passing year.”
Williams said that no matter “how good we look, no matter how fit we are, men are still seeing primarily our presumed dwindling fertility as a knock against us.”
She went on to say that fertility is another reason she wants younger Black women to seek marriage or partnership in college or shortly afterward, “if that’s what they choose,” because “the number of college-educated Black men are so low when compared to Black college-educated women” that the same small pool of men will be “targeted” by all.
“And as we heard today, on most campuses, there’s like seven Black women students for every one Black man student,” she said. “Y’all do the math.”
“So here’s my advice: If you are a young Black woman in college and you know in your heart and in your head that you want to prioritize family, I suggest that you simultaneously pursue that MRS degree right along with that BA or JD. Because the handful of Black college-age men that actually do desire to get married soon — and they do share that value system, and family is a priority for them — to y’all that is an incredibly small pool and it’s shrinking as you get older.”
Williams turned to her own personal experience and added that by the time Black women reach her age, 40, they will be faced with different choices relating to life partnership and motherhood. “Now I’m not saying that delaying marriage or motherhood is a bad option, but it’s one that comes with its own consequences and our women deserve to know on the front end of their decision making, instead of on the back half,” she concluded.
Social media obviously had thoughts on Williams’ “MRS. Degree” comments relative to Black women.
Tressa Eleby weighed in on X, formerly Twitter, writing, “There should be no rush to marriage. I honestly feel the sooner you do that in life, the sooner you get divorced. Know who you are FIRST.”
“Wow. I feel like this was spoken from a consciousness of fear. She feels like a fear monger. Pursue your passions!! You’ll run into the right person for you. Pursuing marriage for the sake of marriage is a recipe for divorce,” Allyson Finch tweeted.
“I don’t think it’s a bad suggestion,” @thugxxpassion wrote. “Idk how many men in that age frame are actually ready to get married. As a 31 year old I feel like I meet a lot of men that are Older and still not ready .. and I don’t think you know yourself as well at that age.”