It is almost unfathomable that such a thing could happen here in the matrimaniacal United States, but in Japan, it is the new normal: Young and youngish single people just are not all that interested in sex, romance, or marriage.
The headline at Slate was intriguing: “The Dutch don’t care about marriage.” So was the subheading: “Americans can learn a lot from their indifference.” A big picture of happy, relaxing single people was captioned, “Being single in the Netherlands is pretty great.”
I’m always interested in places where being single is great and marriage is met with a shrug so of course I was all over this article. Based on her brief visit to Amsterdam, Katie Roiphe (author of In Praise of Messy Lives) had this to say:
“The Dutch attitude, which I like, is that marriage is not for everyone; it is a personal choice, an option, a pleasant possibility, but not marrying is not a failure, a great blot on your achievements in life, a critical rite of passage you have missed. Sometimes people get around to getting married, and sometimes they don’t.”
I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy from the very first season. With regard to its treatment of issues around single life and marriage, it has been a mixed bag. I thought the early shows were the strongest in that regard. Two themes were central – the characters’ friendships with one another, and their total, utter devotion to and love of their work.
In the past two posts (here and here), I have been critiquing the latest study making claims about marital status and cancer survival rates. In this final post in the series, I will show you examples of how the New York Times and an editorial in an academic journal gave readers a misleading impression of what the study really did demonstrate.
At the end of my previous post, I challenged you to come up with other explanations for the study claiming that marriage results in better survival from cancer. How did you do? Some of my alternatives are below. I bet you came up with some others.
When I was out of the country a few weeks ago, the latest study proclaiming that single people are doomed followed me around. It was in the headlines of newspapers in the airports, and a story about it in another language was shown to me by a journalist at a conference where I was speaking – about the stereotyping and stigmatizing of single people that I call singlism. Ironic, in a way.
I’m talking about the study of marital status and cancer, claiming, predictably, that married cancer patients fare better than single ones: they are more likely to get diagnosed before the cancer has spread, they are more likely to receive the treatment considered definitive, and they are more likely to survive their cancer.
[This is a continuation of the post, “Do We Need Magazines for Single People? Part 1.”]
So what might such a magazine (or blog or Web site or any other media) look like?
I would like to see a magazine that is for single people, for living single and not for becoming unsingle.
I’m interested in equal rights for single people, and I’m also interested in understanding why progress is so slow. Recently someone asked me if one of the problems is that single people are just too diverse. How can I expect single people to come together to advocate for their rights when the category of unmarried adults is so heterogeneous?
Finland has a population of about 5.4 million. The US population is about 317 million. Yet at the end of September, Finland hosted an event that, so far as I know, the US has never had: a day-long conference on the topic of single people living alone.
In a previous blog post, “Esteemed journalism publication mocks single people,” I criticized journalist Dannagal Young for a remark she made about single people in her cover story in the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review. I sent her a heads-up about the story the day I wrote it, September 1, 2013.