[Bella’s intro: In Singled Out, I wrote a section called “The Command Team Wears Wedding Bands,” in which I described instances of singlism (stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against singles) in the military. Retired Navy veteran Roger Morris read the book and got in touch, saying that although he agrees that there is some singlism in the Navy, he also thinks there are important ways in which the Navy is a pretty great place to be single. I invited him to share his views and he did so here and here. Then, just recently, another single sailor got in touch with me about his own experiences and views of singlism in the Navy. I invited him to share his perspective, and that’s what you can read in this post. He wishes not to be identified so I’m just calling him “guest blogger.” Thank-you, guest blogger!
Earlier in my research life, I studied the psychology of lying and detecting lies. I knew nothing about the academic research on single life or marriage. I just knew the media narrative proclaiming that if only single people would get married, they would be happier, healthier, live longer, and forever enjoy sugar and spice and everything nice. Even though I loved living single myself (except for all of the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination that I call singlism), I had no reason to disbelieve the conventional wisdom. Until, that is, I actually started reading the original research reports on marital status and life outcomes. I was stunned to find that the many claims about the supposedly transformative effects of getting married were almost always exaggerations, misrepresentations, or just plain wrong. Setting the record straight was one of my motivations for writing Singled Out.
Since that book was published, media claims about the supposed benefits of marrying just keep coming. I have continued to critique one claim after another. Each time, I study the original research report rather than simply relying on press releases. It is amazing what you can find when you actually read the academic articles.
I have been collecting my critiques (and some of my other writings) and organizing them by topic. Below are the ones I have so far. (You may need to scroll down after clicking each link.)
I agree. In the popular media, in blogs, and even in academic research, discussions of single life are overwhelmingly written about or by single women. In my blog writing, I first expressed my exasperation in the post,
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.”
[Bella’s intro: Recently, a retired Navy veteran, Roger Morris, wrote to say that while he believed there was some singlism in the Navy, he also thought there were advantages to being a Navy single. I asked if he would elaborate on his perspective and share his wisdom with “All Things Single (and More)” readers and he very kindly agreed. In fact, he has so much to say that I’m presenting his essay in two parts. This is the first. Many thanks to you, Roger Morris, for the time you took to do this important research and writing. By the way, readers, see all that red on the map image accompanying this post? It shows all the places Roger Morris has been!]
I love featuring voices other than mine here at “All Things Single (and More).” Although I read widely about single life, think critically, study the academic journals, and do my own original research, my perspective is limited by my own life experiences. So, even though I always appreciate hearing from people who share my point of view, I also greatly value those whose single lives have been very different.
The latest post over at Living Single was a guest post by Elliott Lewis titled “Undateable.” That one word could raise eyebrows. I like to say that all of my blogs are about all aspects of single life except dating and becoming unsingle. I have stood by that standard all this time because, well, there’s enough about that other stuff everywhere else, and I’m just not interested in it. It is not my niche. Mostly, I write for and about people who want to live their single lives fully.
What’s happening? Two things – National Singles Week (Sunday September 18 – Saturday September 24) and the new website that will aggregate feeds from enlightened singles blogs, provide resources, and more. I’d love to have a few words of wisdom from readers to include in a blog post to run during Singles Week, and I welcome one more round of feedback on the name and contents of the new site.