Archives for Singlehood
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.
Perhaps no person anywhere has more responsibilities, more power, or more burdens than the President of the United States. Barack Obama gets precious little sleep. At the end of the day, when there are no more meetings on his calendar, when he’s already had dinner, and – except for the stack of briefing papers – his time is his own, what does he want to do with his time?
Most stereotypes of single people are negative. But there is one way single people are consistently viewed differently than married people that seems mostly positive: Single people – especially if they do not have children – are seen as more independent. In the workplace, when people think of singles as independent, they may also think something else: that single people with no children are not tied to a job the way that a breadwinning parent is. So, if something goes wrong at work, the single person can simply leave.
What do you think life is like for women who are in their mid-70s and have never married or had children? Do you think they are isolated and alone, poorly educated and just plain poor, unhealthy physically and mentally, needing more help than other women but giving less? That’s the stereotype, but a study of more than 10,000 Australian women of all marital and parental statuses shows that the reality is quite different.
By now, you may have already heard about the disparaging comment that one of the candidates to be Britain’s prime minister, Andrea Leadsom, made about the other candidate, Theresa May, who would go on to secure that position. Leadsom proclaimed that she was better suited to be prime minister because she has kids and May does not, and “being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country. A tangible stake.” She also said: “I don’t know Theresa really well, but I’m sure she will be really sad that she doesn’t have children so I don’t want this to be 'Andrea’s got children, Theresa hasn’t' – do you know what I mean? Because I think that would be really horrible.” But then she did exactly that. (You can read that entire section of the interview here.)