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.
If I ask, “Who wrote the book of love,” you may just start humming the lyrics from the Monotones. There actually is a book of love – The World Book of Love, in fact. The subtitle is, “The knowledge and wisdom of 100 love professors from all around the world.”
The book will be published in English eventually, but so far it is only in Dutch. I asked the editor, Leo Bormans, if I could share with you the entry I wrote for the book, called “Happy Singles.” This single person is happy he agreed.
Did you read the title of this article, “Should Only Parents Be Allowed to Serve as Editors of Newspapers,” and think – what a ridiculous question! Did it sound to you like a parody of the prejudice and discrimination I discuss so often under the title of singlism, or singlism’s cousin, the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against adults who have no children?
If you’ve ever heard the name Faith Popcorn, you have probably remembered it. Maybe you also remember that she is a marketing expert who predicts future trends. She has a prediction about the Next Big Thing. It is “the rise of the solo citizen,” or what she calls Single-Arity.
Her brief document of the same name proclaims:
“Singles will disrupt every facet of our culture.”
“Single-Arity is the Next Big Thing (NBT) locally and globally. Marketing, religion, technology, education, transportation, government will all need to change or face extinction. The rise of the solo citizen will redefine the human experience.”
Today is the start of National Singles Week, September 15-21 (sometimes called National Unmarried and Single Americans Week), but don’t expect to find any greeting cards to celebrate it. That’s okay about the cards – I don’t care about them. But I do care about increasing awareness of the truth about single life. We need National Singles Week because we need consciousness-raising.
1. We need it because living single is how we spend the better part of our adult lives. Americans now spend more years unmarried than married. But even if we spent only a sliver of our lives single, we should be able to use that sliver to pick any door or puncture any myth.
[Bella’s Introduction: In my last post, I posed the question, “Have single people stuck a nail in the coffin of the suburbs?” Surely, many singles have fled the suburbs. Yet some singles love living in suburbia. Today’s guest blogger is one of them. His blog, “Suburban Bachelor,” has the tag line, “Single dwelling among the married.” In the suburbs, he said, “it often feels like I am married, but the wife is never home.” I asked Suburban Bachelor if I could post his list of happy reasons to be single in the land of the married, and I’m delighted that he agreed. Thanks, Suburban Bachelor!]
Did you know that it is now possible to determine the frequency with which particular words have been used in over a million books published over the course of several centuries? The tool that enables such an amazing possibility is Google Books Ngram Viewer.
I’ve never used it, but UCLA scholar Patricia Greenfield has. She theorized that as the US has become more urban and less rural from 1800 to 2000, cultural values have become more individualistic and less collectivist.
The website YourTango just published my article, “The 7 Secrets of Blissfully Single People.” Before you click the link and read it (if you are interested), think about your own list of such secrets. How do some single people succeed at living full, happy, and meaningful lives despite all the insistent matrimania and singlism tell them that doing so is impossible? Which secrets and habits did I miss? Are there any that don’t belong on my list?
In the July/August 2013 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, Dannagal Young expressed her exasperation with media coverage of politics. Financial pressures, she said,
“had led to an emphasis on news that was overdramatic, hyper-personalized, fragmented, and supportive of the existing social order.”
That last phrase is one of the reasons that I, as a social scientist and not a journalist, subscribe to the Columbia Journalism Review, described earlier this year as “an acknowledged authority on the journalism business… [and] among the most important reads in the industry.” I have been dedicated to challenging the “existing social order,” with all its matrimania and singlism, for a very long time.