Single people are routinely stereotyped, stigmatized, and ignored, as I highlighted in the subtitle of my book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. They are also shamed. Here are some examples of that. Happily, as the number of single people grows and as more people spend more years of their lives not married, single people are sometimes celebrated, too. This collection also includes examples of ways in which single people are celebrated.
Single people are all over popular culture. Usually, they are portrayed in stereotypical ways. Occasionally, though, I am pleasantly surprised.
“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!
As if all of those singles-bashing “why are you still single” lists are not bad enough, there’s more. I just learned that there is a traveling road show addressing the question, “Why is everyone still single” – as if that’s a bad thing.
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.