Do Married People Get to Speak for Single People Because They Were Once Single?

“I’ve lived in both worlds,” said a married mother, referring to the fact that she had been single before she got married. She and I and Professor Paul Dolan were guests on a Canadian radio show. We were discussing Dolan’s claims that single women with no kids are the happiest. (I considered whether that is true in a previous post here.) We also talked about singlism and matrimania.

How we live now

Wayward Girls as Visionaries: The Social History You Were Never Taught in School

I like to think of the 21st century as a time when more and more people are creating their own life paths rather than following the standard scripts for what to do and how to live. In a new book, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval, Columbia University Professor Saidiya Hartman makes the case that in the opening years of the 20th century, young black women who had left the south for cities in the north were doing much the same. Of course, they were doing so under tremendously more trying circumstances.

Love & Affection

Why Single People Get Stereotyped: An Explanation that Blames No One

Single people get judged much more harshly than married people do. My colleagues and I discovered this when we created pairs of brief biographical sketches that were identical in every way, except that in one of the sketches, the person was described as single and in the other, as married. The single person and the married person in each pair had the same name, the same age, the same hometown, the same hobbies – the same everything, except for marital status.

Love & Affection

Sex: Is It More of a Problem for People Who Are Single?

The last time I participated in a panel discussion, a man in the audience was annoyed at me for saying positive things about single people. At one point, he stood up and said, “What about sex?” I tried not to be snide when in response, I said something like, “well, as it turns out, you don’t have to be married to have sex.”