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Alabama State President–Victim of Singlism January 16, 2014

Posted by Onely in Celebrities, Heteronormativity, Take action.
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2 comments

Even the unmarried president of Alabama State, Gwendolyn Boyd, accepts discrimination 4708817904_8ff853a14d_oagainst 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…)

Operation Singles Saturation: Blogfest2 Celebrates In(ter)dependence July 3, 2013

Posted by Onely in blog reviews, Guest Bloggers, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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5172185224_d6e0aae10a_oThis July 4th, as the U.S. celebrates its Independence Day, Onely is joining other pro-singles’ bloggers in a Media Saturation Event to celebrate the independence – and interdependence – of the single life (you might remember our participation in this blogfest about the cost of single life, back in April).

This time, we’re asking you to write, vent, question, and tweet just what In(ter)dependence means to you.

And by “you”, we mean LOTS of you. We at C.L.U.E. (Communications League for Unmarried Equality, consisting of Onely; Bella dePaulo, PhD; Spinsterlicious; and Cindy Butler of the group Unmarried Equality) have worked hard to assemble the BEST and the BRIGHTEST and LOUDEST voices in the progressive singles’ community. So if we haven’t just found you, then join us! If you don’t have the time to compose reams of masterful text about what In(ter)dependence means to you, then get on the Tweet train with these tags:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination. Sprinkle them like fairy dust into your tweets about singleness and in(ter)dependence. (Extra credit if you can combine your hashtags with Haikus!) And if you *do* write a post, make sure to send the link to contact.clue@gmail.com so that we can give you credit.

And now, here are Onely’s deep thoughts about In(ter)dependence:

There are plenty of stereotypes about what it means to be single, and one of the most common is that we “have it easy” because we aren’t responsible for, or to, anyone else. If only! You might even say that the category “single” is an oxymoron – for it’s impossible (or at least unpleasant) to live in this world without relationships of some kinds.

This interdependence, we believe, is something to be celebrated. But when we’re single, we are often (sometimes. . . occasionally. . .) expected to celebrate our independence. Songs have been written about this phenomenon (think Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson). Never mind that this independence is, more often than not, portrayed as a response to previous romantic relationships! Indeed, here at Onely, we’ve made it a point to emphasize – and celebrate – the strength and resilience required of single people in the face of heteronormativity, amatonormativity, and matrimania.

The truth is, though, no matter how strong a single person is – no matter how truly independent any one of us might be – we are supported and strengthened by our relationships with others. Life would be pretty lonely without these relationships. But there’s little space in our culture to celebrate relationships that aren’t SEEPie (Sex and Everything Else Person) relationships, and so it’s easy to lose sight of the many “other” significant relationships that help us feel human.

This blind celebration of independence – oftentimes at the expense of recognizing the value of interdependence – trickles down to our identities as single people. If we have anything to be proud of, Western culture suggests, it should be our so-called “freedom,” our “lack of responsibility” to others, and our apparent “mobility.” We should be. . . Movie Cowboys!

But this attitude devalues the many kinds of relationships that nourish us, and it ignores the reality of our daily lives (income issues, sick family members, roof rot, and, perhaps most challenging, raising a child as a single parent). When we lose sight of the significance of the many different kinds of relationships we enjoy (financial advisor, aunt who cares for her sick niece, the kind coworker who also does insulation and tile work, the neighbor who loves to babysit) it becomes easy to define ourselves, as single people, as somehow weak or lonely.

And that’s a shame. Because there’s something special about being single – and we like to call it Being Onely.

Copious Readers

How does in(ter)dependence

Influence your life?

Remember:  #unmarriedequality and/or  #singlesblogfest and/or #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination.

– Lisa and Christina

Photo credit: Listen Missy!

Single? Blogfest Explains How to Get Screwed 1,000 Times! April 15, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Food for Thought, Guest Bloggers, Guest Posts, Marital Status Discrimination, Singled Out, Singles Resource, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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4 comments

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 11.43.08 PMMarital Status Discrimination: Today, Onely joins forces with dozens of other bloggers to highlight the problem of Marital Status Discrimination. Why? Because on Tax Day, Uncle Sam picks the pockets of singles at the same time he’s rewarding couples for getting married.

So what? So this: The U.S. government–a democratic government, a government “By the People and For the People” and all that–discriminates against fifty percent of its population: unmarried people. Our federal code alone contains over 1,000 laws where marital status is a factor, and in most cases single people lose out.

Because this phenomenon was a problem with no name, we at Onely christened it “institutionalized” Marital Status Discrimination. In January we made a big slam-dunk stink about it in The Atlantic.

The Million-Dollar Difference: According to our very conservative and basic calculations, a single person earning $80,000/year could easily pay at least a million dollars more over her lifetime than her married counterpart, based on only a few of the most discriminatory laws (such as Income Tax, IRAs, and Social Security).

What’s more, our hypothetical scenarios did not consider state laws, nor the many ways Marital Status Discrimination shows up in corporate policies–such as when singles pay more for all sorts of insurance. These factors could easily push the million-dollar figure higher. Much higher.

But money isn’t everything:  That’s why our government has thoughtfully provided other laws that don’t impact single people’s pocketbooks. These laws instead impact single people’s peace of mind. For example, as we described in 2010 on Psychology Today, an anti-stalking law promises protection to the victim’s spouse. Phew! But a single person being stalked is offered no such additional protection for a loved ones.

Any stalker who does his research (and we imagine this is all of them) would know exactly whom his stalkee loves most. R.I.P. Grandma; if only you had married your grandson maybe there would have been cops by your door when his stalker came calling. . .

The U.S. Government thinks being unmarried means: a life free of connections and cares, and full of discretionary spending. Unfortunately, even if this were true (and we at Onely fervently wish it were), no society is at its best when half its members are treated differently from the other half.

So let’s get started obliterating Marital Status Discrimination! Our first step is to. . uh. . . We will start by. . . ahem. . . Our next move should be. . . um. . .  Well, as you can see, while we at Onely are skilled at pointing out these problems, we aren’t so sure what we should do next.

So, Copious Readers, here’s where we need your help: Now that we’ve gotten the dialog started, what do you think our “next steps” should be? How do you think we should take action (and by “we,” we mean the collective blogosphere standing up for single people everywhere)? What subject matter experts are best positioned to spread the word or propose legislative change? Do you know tax professionals or legislators friendly to our cause? (Or can you convince them to embrace our cause?)

Please share your insights and spread the word: Comment below. Or tweet #UnmarriedEquality and #SinglesBlogfest. Or share this article on Facebook!

If you have more questions about Singles Blogfest, please write to Onely@onely.org or to contact.clue@gmail.com. Huh? Clue? Yes:

The Communication League for Unmarried Equality (CLUE):

We at Onely were not the only ones who instigated this effort. We were honored to have had lots of help from three of the most active voices in the progressive singles’ movement, who jumped on board the Singles Blogfest project with unparalleled enthusiasm and expertise:

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard), author of Singled Out and the “Living Single” blog at Psychology Today (belladepaulo@gmail.com)

Eleanore Wells, blogger and author of The Spinsterlicious Life (Eleanore@TheSpinsterliciousLife.com)

Cindy Butler, of Unmarried Equality  (cbutler@unmarried.org)

Thanks Copious Readers, We Love You!

–Christina Campbell and Lisa A. of Onely.org, (pronounced wun-lee), a blog that challenges stereotypes about singles (Onely@onely.org)

Photo Credit: The Atlantic.com

Can Couples Advocate for Singles’ Rights? December 30, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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18 comments

three-mississippi-sandhall-crane-flock-together-in-the-gras_w725_h483

For more than four years now, Lisa and I have spent a good deal of time objecting, advocating, railing, protesting, blathering, and even (to our shame) name-calling, all in the name of singles’ rights. We’ve been doing it every since we realized that, at the time, all pro-singles writing said it was GREAT to be happily single, but only because it made you more appealing so you could get a mate.

Lisa and I, two single women in our 30s, thought that was stupid. What if, we proposed, it was great to be happily single, period?  We were both happy, and single, and didn’t care whether we’d find a mate or not. So we started this blog, which has since been quoted or cited in several major print and online publications (and I say that only as an example of how vehemently we pushed our topic in people’s faces). 

Our question to you, Copious Readers, is: would we, could we, have ever had the same revelation–and the same work ethic–if one or both of us had been coupled? Or by extension, can a coupled/married person ever advocate for singles’ rights as passionately, accurately, or extensively  as an unmarried or socially single person? If yes, under what circumstances? If no, why not?

By singles’ rights, we mean that the U.S. government ought to stop discriminating against half its adult populace. We call this institutionalized singlism.

By singles’ rights, we also mean that people–regular people like you and Lisa and me–need to recognize that it’s not acceptable to treat single people like losers in the game of life. (“You’re not married yet? Awww.”) We call this cultural singlism. Examples are all over this blog and all over the blog of social scientist Bella DePaulo whom I linked to above, so I’m not going to retell the stories here. (I will give you some keywords though: Immature. Selfish. Desperate. Cats. Dead. Eaten by.)

Onely’s opinion is that anyone, aaaaaanyone, with an open-minded, critical-thinking type of brain, plus a (more…)

Single’s Movement Has a Slogan! February 20, 2012

Posted by Onely in Heteronormativity, Take action.
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4 comments

Copious Readers, let us know what you think of this for our Singles’ movement slogan (if I may be so bold):

Separate sex and state!

Advantage: If you pronounce it SeparAYTE, it has rhyme and rhythm.

Disadvantage: Some people might read it as SeparUT.

Advantage: It has “sex” in it.

Disadvantage: It has “sex” in it.

As our regular readers will recognize, the slogan reflects how many governments give arbitrary rights and privileges to married couples, at the expense of gays who cannot marry and, less famously, at the expense of single people.  Yes, some companies or governments think of themselves as all progressive for providing some domestic partner benefits, but in doing so they’re just feeding back into the whole overdone trope of couple-privileging.

Moreover, “couple” is largely by default defined as two people who live together and have sex with each other on a regular basis. This prevents, or at least deters, two platonic females (for example) who live together, maybe share childcare responsibilities, and function as a married couple in all ways but one–dare I whip out the Kate & Allie reference? I do dare–from receiving or applying for domestic partner benefits.

This is why we think Separate sex from state is an appropriate slogan for progressive singles. Separate sex from state, and many other cultural prejudices about singles (selfish, lonely, always seeking “the one”) will fall away as well.

–Christina

P.S. If you watch the Kate & Allie episode, aired in 1984, you’ll see how they float the idea of “family can be defined many ways.” Yet over twenty years later, so many people (and institutions) are still acting as if the hetero couple unit is the be-all end-all of family. Shameful.

Love Us? Then “Like” Us! August 31, 2011

Posted by Onely in Pop Culture: HOPE for the Onelys, Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy, Take action.
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4 comments

To Our Copious Readers:

Well, we’ve finally joined the 21st century: Onely’s on Facebook! If you “like” us, the bonuses are endless: You’ll receive updates about our blog posts, pro-singles events or occasions, as well as links to articles or websites of interest to the singles’ advocacy community. What’s more, you can add content of your own: Feel free to post to our Wall and know that you’re a member of a growing special interest group.

Now all we need is for you to “like” us (for incentive, we’ve posted a special bonus link on our Wall). Luckily for everyone involved, it’s pretty easy: You can just click the “like” button over on the right sidebar of the blog, or you can search for Onely (we’re a page, not a person) from your personal Facebook account.

Also, don’t forget that you can still connect to us via Twitter, email subscription, RSS feed – or you can go the good old-fashioned route of bookmarking Onely as a “Favorite” on your web browser!

Happy “liking”!

– Lisa and Christina

Facebook, Scourge of the Onelers, Part 2 May 8, 2011

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Just Saying., Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, Singled Out, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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13 comments

Continued from this post

Got your attention?

After Lisa conducted her Facebook experiment, we wondered, why is it that people can write anything they want on Facebook for their “religion” status, but not for relationship status?

It seemed an eminently reasonable question, so I posted an eminently reasonable article and petition on Change.org asking Facebook to tweak their script a tad. I’ve included excerpts from the article and petition here, along with some of the comments they generated. As you’ll see, on the niche topic of singles’ advocacy, what is eminently reasonable to one person may be hellfire-and-damnation to another, even in a community of supposedly progressive thinkers.

From the article: Tell Facebook “Relationships” Comprise More Than Just Sex Partners:

Facebook allows us to write whatever we want in our profile’s “Religion” box — even Peanut Butter Cups. So why, for our “Relationship,” must we choose from a pre-set list of nine choices: single; in a relationship; engaged; married; it’s complicated; in an open relationship; widowed; separated; and divorced?  [Update: in February 2011 Facebook added two more relationship options: "in a civil union" and "in a domestic partnership.]

Facebook needs to make the Relationship status a write-in field. I at least want the option of flaunting of my relationships with my cat or my hairdresser. But there are serious, bigger problems at stake here.

By forcing users to choose one “relationship” from a narrow range of options centering around marital status and sexual habits, Facebook perpetuates our society’s entrenched mate-mania, which over-worships the sexual-couple-unit, and marriage in particular. This bias devalues other important relationships. It devalues platonic friends and non-spousal family members. And it devalues people for whom conventional coupling/marriage is either not appealing or not an option. . .

From the Petition:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Heiliger,

Please make Relationship Status a write-in field, as you have done with the Religion option. Since 2007, at least six Facebook groups have formed to advocate for broader definitions of relationship on the site, yet Facebook still requires users to choose from a short pre-set list of choices centering around marital status and sexual habits.

Facebook’s current Relationship menu perpetuates our society’s entrenched mate-mania, which over-worships the sexual-couple-unit, and marriage in particular. Mate-mania is more than an irritating cultural quirk. It is actually codified into government policy. In the U.S. legal code over 1000 laws mention marital status, favoring married couples by a wide margin. This bias devalues other important relationships. It devalues platonic friends and non-spousal family members. And it devalues people for whom conventional coupling/marriage is either not appealing or not an option.

That’s not what Facebook is about. Facebook is about facilitating connections–all kinds of connections. . .

A word about Change.org: I wrote for them for a year and really enjoyed the experience. Change.org is a powerful and successful liberal forum advocating for social change on a range of important issues, from women’s rights to gay rights to animal rights to human rights to environmental protection, largely through the use of online petitions. Every day hundreds of thousands of change-minded, open-minded readers browse, comment on, and sign the petitions. The Change.org community prides itself on thinking outside the box and advancing the rights of the disenfranchised.

When I wrote the post, I imagined that Change.org’s progressive readers would appreciate my claim and respond in kind by signing the petition. Instead, the commentary was surprisingly negative, and only 200 readers signed the petition – even though the post and petition received more than 9,000 views. So why did it receive an overwhelmingly hostile response from commenters?  Is it because they were unimaginative faux-progressives who only became liberals to piss off their right-wing parents or because they think they look good in Birkenstocks? Not at all. They cared deeply about other social issues, women’s rights in particular. In fact, they cared so deeply about women’s rights that a prime complaint about the petition was that it wasn’t feminist enough. Take for example the following two comments:

I think the cause of women’s rights needs to be taken seriously, and complaining about this type of stuff is a sure-fire way to lose points in the seriousness column.

I fail to see how that has to do with women’s rights, when that is affecting more than just women.

For people who haven’t yet thought critically about the cultural, governmental, and commercial biases toward couples, complaining about couple-mania is like complaining that the earth revolves around the sun. And why would anyone do that? Lisa commented on the article, explaining why Facebook’s relationship hangups were, in fact, a feminist issue:

The problem … has to do with the normalizing of romantic/sexual relationships as primary to a person’s identity. Because Facebook regulates the categories through which we define our online identities, it appears abnormal — and in the case of “relationship status,” impossible — to want to define one’s own identity according to our own terms, rather than Facebook’s. Thus, calling for a broadening of what “having a relationship” might mean — as Christina does here — appears abnormal to some.

Readers also challenged the article by saying that there are other (separate but seemingly equal) ways in Facebook through which you can link your status to friends/relatives/pets/etc, so they wondered why we needed to be able to do this in the “relationship” field.  In response, Lisa explained why this was so, feeling rather startled that such an explanation would even be required for people who, judging from their participation in Change.org, would already have a basic understanding of the rhetoric of discrimination:

Facebook’s regulation of which relationships are “possible” or “intelligible” participates in unjust systems of thought and action that attempt to regulate one’s ability to be recognized in larger culture as an individual deserving of equal rights…. While one’s online identity on Facebook may not seem to matter all that much in a local/individual context, I’d argue that Facebook’s popularity means that when it regulates particular aspects of a user’s identity as “normal,” that regulation trickles into the thinking/actions of the general public.

As of April 9, 2011, the article had received 9,582 views since its inception in December 2010.  Over 200 of those viewers signed the accompanying petition. And the other 9,000? Well, as we’ve seen, a number of them found the whole concept offensive. As is common with online petitions, a good proportion of the readers may have been too lazy, hurried, or cautious to hit the “sign” button and fill out their personal information (as I have often been). Regardless, almost 10,000 people now may think just a bit more critically when filling out their Facebook profiles.

– CC

The Great Facebook Relationship Feeding Frenzy December 12, 2010

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Just Saying., single and happy, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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34 comments

Or, Your Relationship Status Is (Apparently) Everyone’s Business.

To the left, you see the results of a little experiment I conducted recently on Facebook (if the Spanish throws you off, my apologies! It’s how I learn other languages. And you get the point). I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time now: I’m always astounded by the amount of attention other people receive when they really are in new relationships (or engagements or marriages) and publicize the info on Facebook…

My hypothesis: Changing your relationship status on Facebook will garner more attention than anything else you’ve ever posted.

(Tentative) Conclusion: YES.

So I finally did it, and voila! Not only did my relationship-status-change draw the responses you see here (3 unqualified “likes” and 11 comments), but I also received three inquiries via text message, five private messages from friends wanting to know the “scoop,” and even one question about it at the end of an otherwise-serious phone call with my little brother. Considering I only have 130 “friends” on Facebook, that’s a pretty decent amount of attention — certainly much more than I’ve ever managed to solicit from anything else I’ve done on Facebook.

What’s more, two of the private messages were sent from friends who I haven’t seen or spoken to in the last six months, and although I replied graciously and honestly to their inquiries (I told them both it was a joke, sorry to disappoint (!!), told them a little bit about my current life and asked them about theirs), I haven’t heard from either of them since and it’s been almost a week. The message I’m getting from this silence? A relationship-status change is everyone’s business. And if you make it a joke, people will get angry.

It wouldn’t be fair, however, if I didn’t give kudos to many of my friends. You can probably guess from some of the published comments who knows about Onely and who doesn’t (see Carrie, Lisa [not me], Paulina and Kimberly). What’s more, some of the private messages and texts I received were from close friends who actually know me in my everyday life and imagined it was a joke but wanted to be sure I wasn’t hiding a secret life from them.

The problem is, this experiment is flawed because my FB friend base is biased (my real-life FB friends know about and appreciate my pro-single status), and some of them even knew I was thinking about the experiment in advance.

So I’m hoping that you, Copious Readers, will be willing to add to the data by conducting the experiment on your FB pages and report the results here (if we get enough of a response, I’ll write a follow-up post about it).

Here’s what I’d like to know: (more…)

Psych Today Post Deletes Comments from Progressive Singles November 7, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
14 comments

The 30-percent-offensive post “10 Things You Can Do To Enhance Your Life”  I wrote about recently is one of the five most popular posts on Psychology Today. It was fifth this morning and now it’s number three. Why is this a huge problem? Reasons A-C below, where C is the most disturbing:

(A) As I said in my previous post, three of the ten suggestions assume that the reader has a “mate”.  (Watch a sunset with your mate; go to bed ten minutes early with the one you love, write a thank-you note to your mate.) Presumably thousands of people are reading these suggestions and internalizing the insidious notion that everyone must either have or strive for a mate, in order to lead an enhanced life.

(B) Several people left comments on the 10-Things post, saying how “awesome” and “lovely” all the suggestions are, and presumably thousands more have read the comments and further ingested the notion that it’s “awesome” and “lovely” to watch a sunset with a mate (and, by extension, perhaps less lovely without one).

(C) On the day I composed my original post griping about this, at least three astute Psych Today commenters had left comments challenging the inclusion of the three “mate” items in the list. As of yesterday, and as of today, those particular comments are gone–presumably removed. I don’t have any record of their existence (why would I think I’d need to make one?), but I know I saw them. I also know that Onely made a comment which has since disappeared.

It seems bizarre to me that an author or admin would remove three comments as benign as the ones I read, but I can’t think of what else might have happened. I welcome, and hope for, alternative suggestions.

Otherwise, Copious Readers, please go comment on the 10-Things post and let the author and the many readers of the post know that only seven of the ten items are actually “awesome” and “lovely”.  Your comments may be removed later, but even having them up for a little while might offset this post’s perpetuation of the Mate Myth.

–Christina

TAKE ACTION: Speak Up For Health Care Reform August 8, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, blog reviews, Everyday Happenings, Singles Resource, Take action.
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1 comment so far

Check out yet another thorough and engaging post from Clever Elsie at Singletude, this time about the upcoming vote on HR 676, a bill supporting a single payer health care system, where we are all covered by ONE taxpayer-funded public source. (Ooh, how very Scandinavian!) As always, Singletude has done her research and explains why she is a fan of this bill. I am a fan of single-payer too, but my reasoning is based more on my gut than my head, so I encourage our Copious Readers to go to Singletude for more details.  (more…)

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