“White privilege” and “male privilege” are familiar concepts in our cultural conversations. There is, however, another vast swath of unearned privileges that have gone largely unrecognized, even though they unfairly advantage about half of the adult population in the United States. We’re talking about marital privileges. People who marry enjoy social, cultural, economic, and political advantages that single people do not, simply because they are married.
Matrimania – the over-the-top hyping of marriage, weddings, and couples – is pervasive every day of the year, but it really gets ramped up over the holidays. So does singlism – the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single. Pitying single people practically becomes a national sport.
Here is my collection of writings on being single for the holidays. Don’t expect any singles-pity. But you may find the tables turned on those kinds of emotional practices. Enjoy!
There are a lot of “why are you single” lists popping up these days. I have mostly stopped clicking on the links. Maybe some of them are fine. Back when I used to look at them, though, far too often they came with an attitude that was insulting to single people – that all single people are single because there is something wrong with them and they need to be fixed. That’s an example of singlism and like all instances of that prejudice, it is unfair to single people. Only rarely did the authors ever concede that some people are single because that’s exactly what they want. Maybe they are even single-at-heart – not only do they like living single, but that’s how they lead their best, most meaningful, and most authentic lives.
Speaking to the Republican National Convention last night, Ann Romney exclaimed that she loved women. (Well, not that way.) I don’t think she realizes, though, that not all women are mothers. Either that or she thinks that the only women who count are the mothers.
“It’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right,” she said.
“It’s the moms of this nation,” she added, “single, married, widowed – who really hold this country together.”
Mary Edwards says: The women in my family are independent, successful and strong. Every single one of us has a very sarcastic humor and easy going look on life. My sisters and aunts are all married but living a very even partnered marriage. If any of them were to be left by their husbands, I believe they would bounce back into singledom just fine. So naturally, I was shocked when I learned how much my family was concerned about my single status recently. My jaw literally dropped when my aunt told me, ‘You aren’t getting any younger.’
[Bella’s intro: In my last post, I gave a name to the series that has actually been ongoing for some time: Perspectives on Single Life. The first entry posted specifically under that name is from Maya Bernadett. She takes on the pressure to just settle, a topic that, unfortunately, continues to be timely. There are a number of lines from this essay that I especially appreciate, but I think my favorite is the very last one. No cheating – don’t skip ahead to the end! Thanks, Maya, for sharing your essay with the readers of “All Things Single (and More).”]
There is a possible television documentary series about single women in the works. If it happens, it will air during Women’s History Month. The series will be based on Nika Beamon’s book, I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful Single Black Women Speak Out, discussed here. The producers are interested in stories from White, Asian, and Latina women, too.