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Home » Blogs » Single at Heart » For Monica Lewinsky, One Insult Felt Even More Hurtful Than Slut, Whore, Bimbo, or Chunkster

For Monica Lewinsky, One Insult Felt Even More Hurtful Than Slut, Whore, Bimbo, or Chunkster

Monica Lewinsky has been the target of just about every cruel name that gets hurled at women. Among them: “slut,” “whore,” “bimbo,” “tart,” “Big Mac,” and “chunkster.” None of those, she told New York Magazine, counted as the most hurtful.

What upset her most was getting called “Unmarriable.”

I’ve been studying examples of the shame that single people feel for so long that it is not often that a new example stuns me. But this one did.

Names like “whore” and “slut” and the others are so demeaning, so horrifying – how can “unmarriable” be considered even worse?

In societies such as the U.S.:

  • Marriage is relentlessly celebrated in over-the-top ways (what I call “matrimania”)
  • Romantic relationships are considered the most important of all relationships, and
  • Being single is stigmatized (what I call “singlism”)

Thus, being marriable becomes a stand-in for having worth as a person. It is not just about one aspect of a person (as, for example, “chunkster” or “slut” is); it is a summary judgment about everything that a person amounts to. “Unmarriable,” in our backward, bigoted culture, means that no one would ever love you. No one would ever choose to spend their life with you.

It is a particularly odd insult, considering just how many single people there are. In the U.S., there are about 110 million people, 18 and older, who are not married. That’s nearly as many as are married. Do we really want to dismiss nearly half of all adults as worthless?

It is also hard to defend “unmarriable” as an insult when many people choose to live single, not as a default but as their first choice. These “single at heart” people embrace all that single life has to offer.

Why do we put up with such narrow, small-minded ways of thinking about love? Why don’t we wrap our arms around the many kinds of love in our lives, rather than elevating romantic love, and only romantic love, to a special place it doesn’t deserve?

Why can’t we recognize the many ways that people can lead a good and fulfilling and worthy life without marrying?

When other people try to hurl the “unmarriable” label at you, they want it to stick to you. But instead, it reflects back on them, showing them to have an embarrassingly regressive view of the world and of the worth of other humans.

Photo by RedCarpetReport

For Monica Lewinsky, One Insult Felt Even More Hurtful Than Slut, Whore, Bimbo, or Chunkster

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyZysfafOAs. Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at www.BellaDePaulo.com.


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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2018). For Monica Lewinsky, One Insult Felt Even More Hurtful Than Slut, Whore, Bimbo, or Chunkster. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2018/10/for-monica-lewinsky-one-insult-felt-even-more-hurtful-than-slut-whore-bimbo-or-chunkster/

 

Last updated: 15 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Oct 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.