Archives for Psychology

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What Do You Really Know About the Experience of Traveling Solo?

More than a decade ago, when I first started to study single life in earnest and not just live it, I took a look at how different groups and markets seemed to view single people. One of them was the travel industry, and wow, was I appalled. I found appeals written for the single traveler, but they all seemed to assume that people traveling on their own had just one goal – to come home coupled. Marketers touted all the eligible suitors the solo travelers might meet and all the wonderful social events on the schedule to bring them together. And if singles were charged far more for their reservations than couples, well too bad.

Today, much has changed for the better. There is no better chronicler of solo sojourners and their place in the contemporary travel industry than New York Times writer Stephanie Rosenbloom (also mentioned in previous posts here and here and here). In "Travel Industry Responds to Rise in Solo Sojourners," I found 5 fun facts that either surprised or delighted me. I'm presenting them in the form of quiz items. See how many you can get correct:

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Wall Street Journal Tells New PhD that a Wedding Is More Important

By now, you've probably seen the video of the white Georgia principal who forgot to give the valedictorian a chance to speak at the graduation ceremony. As people started to leave the auditorium (by some accounts, a white family was the first to leave), the principal said, in a snide tone, "Look who's leaving – all the Black people!" An uproar followed, in the room and then in the media.

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Tireless Advocate for Marriage Equality Now Wants Equality for Singles

I've been hoping this would happen for well over a decade. As I watched so many people put so much of their time and their effort and their heart into the quest for same-sex marriage rights, I wondered when some of those same people would realize what their triumphs would not accomplish. No matter how sweeping the victories ultimately are in the movement to legalize of same-sex marriage, people who do not marry – including people of all sexual orientations – are left out. Whether they are people who would like to marry but haven't found the right person, or people who proudly choose to be single, they remain second class citizens, excluded from the legal benefits and protections, and social status (misplaced, in my opinion) that comes from being officially married.

In what I hope will be one of many voices, a long-time advocate for marriage equality is speaking up. In the Boston Globe, James Lopata published an article titled, "Marriage equality is great. Now how about equality for singles?"

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‘Liberty is a Better Husband’ and Other Perspectives on Single Life

With Kate Bolick's Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own continuing to inspire conversations across the media, and encouraged by the interest in my review of the book here at Psych Central and in my post, 50 Shades of Single, I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes and insights from the book. And because Spinster does not include among the five inspirational figures from the past anyone who stayed single for life, I will also add a few words of wisdom from someone who did, Louisa May Alcott.

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Everyday Singlism and That Ton of Feathers

Prejudice and stereotyping and discrimination are most likely to grab our attention when they happen in big, fiery, dramatic ways, as when unarmed Black men are killed by police on city streets. Although those marquee incidents are the most visible and often the most consequential, all of our various isms, such as racism and sexism and heterosexism and ageism and, of course, singlism, manifest on a daily basis.

Singlism (the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against single people) does not reach the depths of viciousness of the worst forms of racism or homophobia. Yet everyday singlism, like everyday sexism or racism or any other ism, does matter. Those small hurts and injustices, sometimes called micro-aggressions, can add up. As activists and consciousness-raisers like to remind us, we really can get crushed by a ton of feathers.

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How That Shocking Episode of Grey’s Can Turn Out to Be the Most Affirming

[Spoiler alert: If you have not seen or heard about the April 23, 2015 episode of Grey's Anatomy, there will be spoilers ahead.]

I'm not such a devoted TV fan that I track the time left on my favorite characters' contracts, but if I had, I would have realized why the recent episode that has repeatedly been described as "shocking" was even more shocking to those in the know. Patrick Dempsey, who played Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy, had another year left on his contract, but now we know he's gone after 11 seasons. He got killed off at the end of last week's dramatic episode.

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50 Shades of Single

In my writings on single life, I have a lot to say about singlism, the ways in which single people are stereotyped and stigmatized and discriminated against. That includes – for single women, especially – the derogatory terms that have been hurled at them.

In her new book, Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own (which I reviewed for Psych Central), Kate Bolick reminds us that single women have not always been portrayed in entirely demeaning ways:

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Why Don’t You Have Kids?

I'm one of 4 "kids". My mother was one of 7 – it would have been 9 but two died very young. At the time of our respective childhoods, it wasn't unusual for either of us. Now, though, typical family sizes are much smaller and more and more women are having no kids at all. Childbearing, once deemed totally natural for women and not a decision at all, is increasingly considered optional. Not that all social pressure has lifted. Most women who choose not to have kids are at some point – or many points – asked to defend their decisions.

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