“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.
Questions about singles in the workplace are coming up more and more often. That’s a good thing. For too long, conversations about the workplace, and about achieving “balance,” have focused on people who are married with children.
Here, I have put together a collection of links to various discussions (mostly mine) of singles in the workplace. There are four sections: two on the issues facing singles in the workplace, one on single people’s values, and one on possible actions that can be taken to create better workplaces for single people.
Over the course of many years writing about single life, I have found that readers are very interested in the experiences of single people in places beyond the U.S. So am I, but I don’t know nearly as much as I would like to. I have had some help with that from guest bloggers. Also, when relevant articles appear in the news, I blog about them.
In Singled Out, I devoted a chapter to debunking the myth that the children of single parents are doomed. I described various studies and showed how the results are exaggerated or misrepresented. I also reviewed studies inconsistent with the doom-and-gloom narrative; they, unfortunately, get little media attention.
New studies have been published since then, so I have continued to address the topic. There is also lots of panic around single parenting and some overwrought media stories and political proclamations. I’ve critiqued those, too.
In 2005, Wendy Morris and I were invited to write the target article, “Singles in society and in science,” for the journal Psychological Inquiry. This was my very first publication about singles. Ten commentaries were written by scholars in a variety of disciplines, and Wendy and I responded to those commentaries.This double-issue of the journal was the result.
Bella’s intro: When I write about single life, I do so from the perspective of having been single all my life. I always like hearing from others who have also lived single all their lives. But I also really appreciate hearing from those who have crossed the marital line and come back again. It is like your own personal experiment. You see how you are treated when you are single, then when you marry, then when you become single again.
I need your help. I’ve been trying for years to explain what’s wrong with the cheater technique. That’s the one where researchers compare all single people (whether they want to be single or not) to only those married people who got married and stayed married (setting aside the nearly half who divorced, and all the widowed), rather than all of the people who ever got married. Based on that methodologically laughable approach, they then proclaim that if only you single people would get married, you would be happier, healthier, live longer, and (fill in your favorite bogus claim here), too.
Back during my East Coast days, there was a year when a colleague invited me to go to her daughter’s play on the 4th of July. I don’t like doing that sort of thing all the time, but I do enjoy kids’ performances occasionally, so that was fine. The play was around noon, so I figured we’d spend the rest of the day together.
Writing about singles has been an enormously meaningful experience, but it has not been a lucrative one. I’ve had fantasies about making a mint on Singled Out or Singlism or from blogging. Not gonna happen.
What I fantasized about is not stuff like buying a yacht or traveling around the world. What I really wish I could do is support single people and singles activism and advocacy. So here I’d like to share some of my starry-eyed ideas that will never come to fruition from my meager royalties or paychecks. I hope you will add some of your own.
Bella’s Introduction: A reader, Scott Larson, recently sent me this short story. I’m not a fiction writer and so I can’t claim to be a qualified judge of that genre, but personally, I really enjoyed it, and I particularly appreciated its single-at-heart sensibility. So I asked the author if I could reprint it here, and he graciously agreed.