Onely On the Warpath September 7, 2015Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action.
Tags: childless discrimination in military, illegal discrimination in military, marital status discrimination in military, navy nurse discrimination, singles blog
Enlisted sailors go out and get married and have children. Because it works to their advantage.
A well-meaning coworker said this to my close relative–let’s call her Megan Muster–after Megan was finished crying in the bathroom. (Or maybe she was kicking the toilet, I’m not sure.)
Megan is a navy nurse who has spent months deployed to an unpleasant place which we’ll call “Stinky Stress Land”. She recently sent my family an excited email saying she was coming home, and I was set to meet her at a naval base near my house on a certain weekend.
But all that changed when her superior officer, the “Senior Nurse Executive” (SNE)–let’s call her Donkeybreath–told Megan that Donkeybreath was extending Megan’s deployment. Donkeybreath explained that of the three Navy nurses who were eligible for extension, Megan was the only one who didn’t have kids. So she had to stay in Stinky Stress Land.
In her email to my family, Megan said the SNE (Donkeybreath to us) told her the decision “ultimately came down to the person who had the least responsibility at home [italics mine].” At that instant Megan knew what was coming. Donkeybreath said, “LCDR Smith has a son at home, and LTJG Jones has two children. LTJG Muster, I know you don’t have any children at home. I’m so sorry, but I have to extend your Orders”.
Copious readers, I’m sure you can spot Donkeybreath’s many errors in logic. I’ll break them down for any new readers of Onely.org (welcome, and I promise I’m not always this p*ssed off. No, actually I guess I am). Let’s use some of Megan’s own words:
It doesn’t matter to the military that I have a family that I care about every bit as much as the next person.
Onely adds these thoughts: What if Megan had an uncle or a close friend that she was normally caretaker of, as opposed to children? Or what if LTGJ Jones were a closet alcoholic who beat his kids? Wouldn’t the kids be better off if LTGJ Jones stayed deployed and the kids remained with their stable, kind, grandparents?
Doesn’t matter! Not in our nuclear-family-obsessed culture. I’m concerned that our U.S. military is draconian and unimaginative and inflexible. I know we’re not Stalin or Pol Pot for goodness’ sake, but having a limited view of what and who constitutes “responsibility” can only undermine the morale of our troops.
As Megan also said in her email,
It doesn’t matter to the military that I have traditions with close friends that I was planning on.
No, because friendship is deemed less important than blood ties–for no real good reason that I can see. (And those traditions she’s talking about? Some of them include. . . actual children! No, she doesn’t roast them with a splash of cooking wine. For seven years she and her close friend have given kids candy on Halloween–the good stuff, peanut butter cups, not taffy sticks. Yes, gasp! She’s childfree but doesn’t hate kids! Craziness!)
But Megan wasn’t finished with her note yet:
Why should I even sit there and justify to her why my life is every bit as valuable as someone’s who has children? And the poor LCDR Smith who had to sit there and listen to her say this B.S. to me. He was squirming in his chair from the discomfort!
Whoa. Donkeybreath not only committed a crime–illegal discrimination–but she did it in front of a witness! Copious Readers, does anyone out there have legal expertise in situations like this? Any suggestions of what Megan should or could do in this circumstance? There is a law in the U.S. federal code that states it’s illegal to discriminate based on marital status (everyone ignores this law), but I’m not aware of a law that specifically states you can’t privilege breeders over non-breeders.
I’ve never like the word “breeders” much, but I’m using it here because I am so angry. Maybe later I’ll go back and change it to “parents”. Meanwhile, “Breeders breeders breeders breeders breeders!!!!!”
And here’s the O.Henry twist: The extension was “only” for two weeks, said Megan, who continued:
So whatever. I’ll survive. But it’s the principle of the thing.
And moreover, if it’s “only” two weeks, who gives a poop about kids or no kids? The majority of children left home in the States with a spouse or grandparents or whomever are not going to be much affected if their deployed parent stays away another two weeks. After spending months away from the military parent, the children are either fine, or damaged. Two weeks won’t make a difference. So what Donkeybreath should have done to choose between the three nurses for a two-week extension is flip a fvcking coin.
Onely hasn’t posted in a while, because I’ve been sick and just able to attack the daily necessities as life throws them at me: hunger, thirst, work, and–if I and my coworkers are lucky–personal hygiene. But upon receiving Megan’s email I spasmed and roared like a zombie bursting out of the earth, and this post came screaming out of me.
Screamer posts often attract haters and heteronormaholes. Welcome! I look forward to verbally hosing your a$$es, unless you bore me, in which case I won’t bother.
Copious Progressive Readers, I hope some of you will have thoughts on how Megan can proceed after this disappointing interaction with this particular Military Mindset.
Photo credit: Wikicommons
Onely Commits Amatonormativity Twice In One Conversation December 20, 2014Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Everyday Happenings, Great Onelies in History, Heteronormativity, single and happy.
Tags: amatonormative, heteronormative, partner-seeking, singles blog
1 comment so far
For a blog that for years has been waving its bloggy arms and screaming about how our world is largely set up for couples, especially hetero couples, and about how they are privileged at the expense of other kinds of loves and families (this is what we mean by amatonormativity, sometimes also called heteronormativity), we at Onely sometimes screw up and act just as badly as the people, governments, and organizations we critique.
And by “we”, I mean me, Christina. I don’t believe my coblogger Lisa, who is much more in tune with peoples’ feelings, has ever been so gauche as myself.
But first some background, in defense of my recent episodes (yes, plural!) of amatonormativity:
–For years my friend Natasha has been looking for the love of her life. The perfect man. She’s suffered many breakups, after one of which she told me, “He was my everything!” When I explained that, in fact, she also had a cat and parents and siblings and friends and a house and a job, she gave a surprised little “O!” with her mouth in that same shape. As if that had never occurred to her.
–For years she talked about how she was tired of being “alone”. For years I tried to talk her out of this need she felt to be part of a couple. Find yourself first, I said. Just do things you like and be happy and it will happen. Go on the internet if you are truly in a hurry. It increases the statistical likelihood that you’ll meet someone compatible (or get killed). Lots of my friends have met this way (and even lived to get married).
Eventually I just stopped trying to Onelify her. I started wishing she would find a stable boyfriend. (That is, opposite the one in college who played basketball and one night said he was being a snippy asshole to her after one game because his team had lost, and they had to act sad and upset.) She was crankier when she was single. If she was single and I wan’t, then she got crankier at me. Then she wanted kids. I wished she would find a partner because obviously it was important to her. My bloggy diatribes about living single and confident and proud were not for her, and I finally accepted that.
SO then the other day we were talking on the phone and Natasha said she was going to an Italian speaking meetup that night. So I said, “Great!”
Do you think there will be any eligible bachelors there?
(First, who still uses the term “eligible bachelors”? Me apparently.)
Natasha was silent for a moment. “No, it looks as if it’s mostly women. But I can never make enough good girlfriends.”
Huh? Who are you and what have you done with Natasha?
Tags: FROZEN, singles, sisters
FROZEN is mostly just another stupid Disney Princess movie, with one tiny difference. As the film progresses it becomes apparent that our main heroine (a princess) can only be saved from her horrid fate (slowly turning to ice) by an act of True Love. We’re led to believe that this will come in the form of True Love’s Kiss by the bumbling but good-hearted sledgedriver named–something, forget. I’ll call him Burt.
However, in the climactic penultimate action scene, the True Love occurs when–SPOILER ALERT, FOR ALL OUR COPIOUS READERS WHO ARE ALSO DISNEY PRINCESS FANS–the princess selflessly saves her sister’s life. They hug and say “I love you!” Moreover, our princess heroine never even marries Burt. There are no couples riding–or sledging–off into the sunset. Instead, everybody in the kingdom gets together and ice skates. The last “couple” we see up close are the two sisters, skating together.
I grudgingly say “Good for Disney.” Grudgingly, because I loathe Disney, not only for their singlism and marriage mania, but for their sexism and racism. Just some random examples: All the princesses look the same–skinny, with ginormous eyes and tiny or nonexistent ears. They vary only according to hair color or style and–if we’re lucky–skin color. I barely need mention that their fates revolve around men. And in Aladdin, all the Arabs except for Aladdan have accents–meaning that all the bad guys sound like they are actually from the region where the story takes place, whereas Aladdin sounds like he grew up tipping cows in Indiana.
So I look at FROZEN as one small step in a journey of about ten million miles that Disney needs to walk in order to undo all the damage they’ve done to little minds over the years.
Alabama State President–Victim of Singlism January 16, 2014Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Heteronormativity, Take action.
Tags: Alabama State, discriminatory housing, Gwendolyn Boyd, history of singlism, singles blog, singlism in school, valerie strauss
Even the unmarried president of Alabama State, Gwendolyn Boyd, accepts discrimination against single people, aka ‘singlism’. That shows how insidious singlism is in our society. Even a woman with a master’s in mechanical engineering from Yale buys into the myth that couples are better than singles. I must presume she is a highly intelligent, driven, open-minded woman. But then why, Copious Readers, would she end up accepting these terms from the university:
Her contract stipulated that she could not share her prime university housing with anyone except a husband.
And she didn’t fight back.
Check out this Washington Post article by Valerie Strauss to get the whole story, and to read about all Boyd’s *other* accomplishments that make her complacency in this matter even more startling. (more…)
The Wife Date December 9, 2012Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Dating, Heteronormativity.
Tags: (not) looking for a wife, dating checklists, dating for fun, single and happy
As our Copious Readers know (but as we often have to clarify to our not-so-Copious Readers and Friends), Christina and I are not against coupling per se. We’re against the privileges associated with coupling, especially when they are unequal to the privileges provided for singles.
Why am I giving you this caveat? Because I went on a date recently. And I didn’t want anyone to think that, by going on a date, I was not being Onely. We believe it’s possible to be Onely and have a love life too.
That being said, I have something to say about the date, which I am heretofore nicknaming The Wife Date. Perhaps by the nickname you can guess how I felt about it. But in case you can’t, let me explain:
Have you ever gone on a date where the conversation consisted of a series of generic questions, rather than from finding mutual experiences or interests in common? (more…)
Onely’s Adventures in Accounting: The Math of Marital Status Discrimination September 22, 2012Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: amatonormative, marital privilege, singles blog, singlism, unmarried discrimination, us government discrimination
Phew, pant pant pant. We at Onely almost missed National Unmarried and Single Americans Week! (Lisa says it’s because she was too busy having fun as a single person.) And indeed, lately there have been a ton of articles (“All the Single Ladies,” “A Confederacy of Bachelors”) in big media about how single people are happy being single (gasp!). Which is good.
But it’s not enough to celebrate social aspects of being single. These articles about the Rise of Satisfied Singles, while important, don’t address the underlying problem of how our society views singles:
Discrimination against unmarried people is institutionalized in government laws (and by corporate policies, which follow the government’s lead).
Take, for example, the unmarried Canadian soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. If he had been married, his spouse would have gotten Death Benefits of $250,000. But because he had no spouse, that $250,000 remained in government coffers to be given to a married person. His and other parents challenged this practice, protesting that in the absence of a spouse, the money could just as easily be allocated to them.
Do you think these parents are
B) Hmmm, what an interesting idea;
C) OMG HOW SELFISH?
If you answered A, then you understand why we at Onely believe marriage as a legal institution is overvalued and oversanctified. If you answered C, then you’d better stop reading now. We are going to prod at your stale paradigms – with the sword of mathematics. En guard!
We’ve never done the math of Marital Privilege. No one has. Until now. (more…)
Tags: iafrica, singlism, singlist media, south african singles, taking privilege for granted
Thanks to one of our Copious Readers from South Africa, Amelia, for bringing to our attention a ridiculously offensive article published recently in iAfrica, entitled “The Benefits of Being Single.”
Amelia told us,
I was very much looking forward to finding out what the financial benefits of being single are, as it’s always seemed to me more expensive not to have anyone to share the rent and other expenses with. But boy, was I in for a surprise!
Like Amelia, we had high hopes for the article. After all, the intro sounded promising:
There is a growing trend in South Africa (and it’s probably already a worldwide trend) for people to choose to remain single…. We no longer have to be married in order to be counted as serious or dependable (unless we are running for president).
Unfortunately, the article takes a nose-dive shortly thereafter, when we learn that:
the beauty of being single from a financial standpoint is that you are cheaper to maintain!
(Yes, the exclamation point was in the original…!)
You … don’t have to take other people’s needs into account, such as which area to buy a home in and how large that home should be.
when going on holidays a single person can afford to travel more as there is only one airplane ticket to buy, one holiday package to purchase. If you don’t like holidaying on your own there are many travel clubs with groups to join and new friends to make.
And – my god – did you know that:
you can start that business that you always wanted with less personal risk. If the business does not pan out you have no family home that needs to be sold or repossessed by the bank, no children that need to be moved from their school after a forced evacuation. There is only yourself that will go through hardships because of mistakes you made and lessons you learned. Also, you can work the long hours it takes to build a business without paying too little attention to anyone.
So, let’s outline the problematic assumptions at work here
- Being single somehow means your expenses are lower, in spite of the fact that having two (or more) incomes and splitting the bills, sharing a house, paying for insurance, and even taking a vacation is significantly cheaper per person for couples and families than being single.
- Being single means that you have no significant relationships or obligations to maintain.
- Being single means that you have plenty of time on your hands.
- Being single means personal risk doesn’t matter, and it probably also means that you’re male, extroverted, wealthy, and/or white.
*Sigh.* Three cheers for the heteronormative mainstream media!
— Lisa and Christina
photo credit: http://www.fam.tuwien.ac.at
What Every Woman Wants? July 22, 2012Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, single and happy.
Tags: bad hookups, coupl, couple-mania, Dating, flaky guys, happy and single, Heteronormativity
The following is a story about the perils of couple-mania. The victim is me. The moral: Always trust your gut – you are a smart and intuitive person. Don’t let couple-mania get the better of you.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to help a friend – let’s call her Reem – celebrate her birthday at a beautiful beach in southern Lebanon with her boyfriend (let’s call him Ramzi), and another friend of theirs (we’ll call her Rose). The beach was lovely – sunny, hot, relaxing.
A few hours into the afternoon, a few of Ramzi’s acquaintances from his football league showed up. We mingled. One of the guys started talking to me. We’ll call him Beach Dude.
Beach Dude seemed to be a genuinely nice guy. He’d grown up in the States but was of Lebanese descent. Talking with him, I felt comfortable, relaxed. He even asked me the topic of my dissertation; no one ever does that. We watched the sunset and chatted until I had to leave for Reem’s birthday dinner. I thought nothing of it.
But apparently, Reem, Ramzi, and Rose had thought about it plenty. They started teasing me.
Them: “Wow, Lisa, Beach Dude really likes you!”
Me: “What are you talking about?”
Them: “He stayed to talk to you when all the guys left to play football!”
Me: “Well, that’s true… but…” My gut just felt they were wrong.
Them: “Lisa, he’s totally into you.”
Me: “I think he was just being friendly.”
Them: “You guys have got to hook up!”
After all their badgering I began to wonder if maybe they were right, and I had in fact entirely misinterpreted Beach Dude’s manner and motivations. Maybe he was totally turned on by the sexy concepts of historiography and disciplinarity (the subject of my dissertation). Still, I squirmed and blushed as they kept insisting that they had seen something I hadn’t.
I already hate couple-mania enough when it’s “out there” – in magazines or on television – but I truly despise it when it’s targeted at me. (more…)