Archives for myths about single people - Page 2
I wish I could say that it is hard to find examples of singlism – the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against single people. Unfortunately, singlism is relentless. It ranges from the subtle to the shocking. And it is often practiced unselfconsciously even by respected intellectuals and ordinary people who pride themselves on being open-minded and totally untainted by prejudice.
When you are away from home – for example, when traveling for work – will you go out on your own? Will you go out to restaurants on your own, go out exploring or to local attractions, or maybe try to meet with others if you know people in the place you are visiting?
People who are “single at heart” live their best, most authentic, most fulfilling and meaningful lives by living single. The concept is not well-known, so few people spontaneously say that they are single at heart. When I listen to what they say about themselves, though, sometimes I think I can tell if they are.
Shortly after the publication of a new and much-acclaimed book about single women, an article in the Washington Post led with the headline, “Finally, a book that says single ladies are doing just fine.” The Week magazine, a publication that compiles in its book review section excerpts from a variety of writings, began its commentary on that book with a quote from the same article: “Finally—finally!” someone has written a big book about single women that “doesn’t tell us we’re doing it all wrong.”
Many single people feel good about their single lives. That’s true even for plenty of single people who do not want to stay single; they, too, often feel proud of how they are living their single years fully, rather than just marking time until they find The One. In the popular culture, though, and in everyday life, much of what gets reflected back to single people is damning. They are told, falsely, that they need to marry if they want to live a happy, healthy, and long life. They are mocked as selfish and lonely and desperate to escape single life. Other people try to fix them up, as if they were broken. After a while, it can be a bit much.
There are so many ways in which single people are treated like they are not as important as married or coupled people. I coined the term “singlism” to refer to the stereotyping, stigmatizing, marginalizing, and discrimination against people who are not married. Singlism seems to be contagious. It affects not just single people, but the important people in their lives, especially if those people are not romantic partners.
Guest Post by Kim Calvert [Bella’s intro: I’ve been studying single life for a long time, and practicing it even longer, so I know the kinds of questions that people have about singles. Often the questions are about the ways in which unmarried people differ from each other. Shouldn’t we be looking separately, I am asked, at single men and single women? Longtime single people versus newly single? Rich versus poor, living alone versus with others, and every other distinction you can possibly imagine. For research purposes, the answer is yes. It is important to understand the many shades and complexities of single people. But in this important guest contribution, the very wise Kim Calvert makes a different argument.
I am in awe of Olympic athletes. The commitment they show with their bruising training schedules is impressive. So is their stunning level of skill. On top of all that, the Olympic opportunity occurs just once every four years. The pressure once they get there seems almost unfathomable. The athletes who make it to the Olympics deserve to bask in their moment – especially (but not only) if they make it to the medals podium. The Olympic games, and the medals ceremonies, should be all about the athletes and their amazing achievements. But, of course, they are not. Matrimania – the over-the-top hyping of marriage, coupling, and weddings – is greedy. It saturates society, seeping into every nook and crevice. And now it has spoiled the Olympics, too.
Insights from Guest Blogger Professor Jaclyn Geller
Here’s something that is news to some of the smartest teachers and savviest students: Not everyone is interested in marriage or coupling or dating. Even those who eventually might be interested are not necessarily interested at the moment; maybe they have other more engaging or pressing concerns. I don’t think there is a lesson plan anywhere that incorporates this important truth. And I don’t think you will find it in any of the back-to-school advice articles that saturate the internet as the new school year draws near.