A recent essay on the Huffington Post is titled, “It’s complicated: The psychology of ‘singlism.’” The Huffington Post attracts about a zillion readers, and unfortunately, author Wray Herbert is adding to the complication he describes by his inaccurate description of what singlism really is.
Herbert begins by saying that he “never felt judged, or discriminated against, for choosing to be single or for choosing a partner.”
Then he continues with this:
“So it came as a surprise to me to read recently about “singlism.” Apparently, some people do feel judged, and unfairly, for their status. And intriguingly, this subtle form of discrimination appears to cut both ways. That is, people who are single by choice claim that they are treated unfairly for not tying some kind of knot, while married people — especially in large urban centers — feel that they are marginalized in a predominantly singles culture.”
The essay ends with one last misleading claim:
“In short, singlism is indeed potent and double-edged. Because most people still do opt for marriage, this bias probably hurts more singles overall. But the intolerance that couple people feel is no less real or harmful.”
Because I coined the term singlism, and published the book by that name (with contributions from 28 others), I can say definitively that singlism does not cut both ways. By definition, singlism is what single people experience. It is the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single. Although people who are married may feel that they are marginalized, that feeling is not an example of singlism.