Tags: #endmaritalstatusdiscrimination, #SinglesBlogfest, #UnmarriedEquality, independence, interdependence, singles blog, singles blogfest
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This 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 email@example.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.
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, 2013Posted 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!.
Tags: #SinglesBlogfest, #UnmarriedEquality, Atlantic Magazine, bella depaulo, Christina Campbell, Cindy Butler, Eleanore Wells, Marital Status Discrimination, singles blogs, The High Price of Being Single, Unmarried Equality
Marital 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
Thanks Copious Readers, We Love You!
Photo Credit: The Atlantic.com
The Worst Singlism Ever (And We’ve Seen Some Bad Stuff)–Protest It! February 9, 2013Posted by Onely in As If!, Celebrities, STFU Celebrities, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: David France, Ed Koch, new york magazine, singles blog
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Copious Readers, get your pens on! We need to write letters to the editors of New York Magazine, which published an article by (supposed) social-justice advocate David France, wherein David France says single people–specifically, New York mayor and “lifelong bachelor” Ed Koch–are heartless.
In the article, ”Ed Koch and the AIDS Crisis: His Greatest Failure,” France says that in the course of his research:
That fact [that Koch "never coupled"] stood out above any other as a probable explanation for why he seemed to lack even the faintest stirrings of empathy when the AIDS crisis came. (more…)
Is There a Place for Practical Marriage? February 6, 2013Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: international relationships, marital privilege, marriage for practical reasons
Christina and I are on record saying that neither of us is interested in getting married. However, our Copious Readers know that we are not against marriage per se; rather, this blog is devoted to the deconstruction of marital privilege wherever it exists – in our society, our institutions, and our laws.
Copious Readers – especially those of you, like me, who have never planned to get married – I am curious about your opinions on this question: In what situation would your resistance to marriage crumble?
To speak personally, I have never looked forward to getting married – even as a child, this was not a life event I imagined for myself. I did look forward to falling in love and experiencing intimate relationships – and I have had these experiences, among many others that were equally significant.
But the question I have now stems from my current life outside the U.S., where marital privilege is equally ubiquitous. In my location, marriage is not only connected to cultural expectations, as well as the relatively mundane financial and social benefits, but it is also deeply connected to the ability to live with those you love – to be a part of a relationship that is recognizable according to the eyes of (international) law.
When I lived in the U.S., in a practical sense I thought I would never need to marry in order to enjoy and maintain a relationship. That’s not to say that marital privilege wouldn’t affect my life in profound ways: If I were in a relationship in the U.S., my partner and I would need to take extra steps to ensure that our partnership, and the rights we wanted to give one another (in terms of health care decisions, property, and other benefits), was legally recognized. And although the extra steps would cost us time and money, the important thing is, it would be possible to take those extra steps
But what if you find yourself in a serious relationship that crosses national borders? At what point should the practical benefits of marriage override one’s resistance to the institution? Let me give you two hypothetical examples, based on real situations that we’ve been told about by our friends, to illustrate how important the question is: (more…)
Single Women: So What If They’re Over Fifty? January 5, 2013Posted by Onely in As If!, STFU, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: ageism, cougar, demeaning terms for singles, demeaning terms for women, lookism, looksism, sexism, singles blog, singles sexism, singlism, SMOFTY, spinster stereotype, SWOFTY
So apparently now there is yet another term to describe women who behave in a certain way: Before it was Cougar, meaning an older woman who dates younger men (implication: these women must be preying on younger men, because why would the guys be attracted them of their own accord?) . Now according to this article flagged by our reader Iolanda, as well as other articles, we have SWOFTY. This means a single woman over fifty.
Copious readers, is this offensive or empowering to women, and particularly to single women? I say offensive, and here’s why:
Where is the term for single men over fifty? A Google search for SMOFTY returned the result: Did you mean SWOFTY? . . . Um, no, sigh.
And there’s more: The term SWOFTY markets itself as a badge of honor for single women, but really it objectifies and classifies women in a three-for-one deal: according to their relationship status, gender, and age. It’s the same old sexism, singlism, and ageism that has been going on in most cultures since forever, just re-labelled. Even the fact that we get surprised by the idea that single women over fifty can be vibrant and happy — so surprised that we have to give them a name — shows just how ingrained the stereotype of the drab spinster is. It’s a stereotype we need to talk in full adult words about, not cutesy acronyms that keep reminding people how the existence of happy single older women is surprising.
And no, SWOFTY does not do anything to increase the dialogue about or dismantle the spinster stereotype (more…)
Can Couples Advocate for Singles’ Rights? December 30, 2012Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: couple communication, singles advocacy, singles blog, singles versus couples, singles' rights, singlism
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…)
U.S. adults have “boyfriends” and “girlfriends”–Do other cultures also infantilize the unmarried? November 28, 2012Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: adult boyfriend, adult girlfriend, cultural expectations for dating, cultural expectations for the single woman, relationship signifiers, singles blog
The U.S.’ widespread use of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” is a decades-old cultural relic, from a time when we married barely out of boyhood or girlhood. But now more and more adults are waiting until their late twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties, or beyond to marry (if at all). So what does it say about our society that we call the people we’re dating “boyfriends” and “girlfriends”?
It SAYS that our society views unmarried people as younger/less evolved/more childish than married ones.
To be sure, our habit of using boyfriend/girlfriend in perpetuity did not arise from a concerted or conspiratorial cultural effort to infantilize unmarrieds. But the passive persistence of the terms does represent how singles are viewed. (For all that alliteration, you may thank this glass of wine.)
A thirty-eight-year-old hetero female has a boyfriend? Come on.
Progressive thinkers (usually as an extension of Queer rhetoric) have played with new terms: Significant Other; Partner; Life Partner. . . These terms allow people of all ages to achieve the rare art of sounding both stodgy and mysterious at the same time.
Copious Readers, Onely requests your responses: (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…)
Couplemania for Polyglots July 8, 2012Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: paerchendiktatur, singles blog, unmarried in China, unmarried in Germany, 单身 歧视, 婚姻
Here at Onely we often use the terms couplemania, matrimania, marital privileging, or heteronormativity to describe the act of favoring paired people at the expense of singles. (Heteronormativity often refers to an anti-gay attitude where the perpetrator thinks that the male-female couple complex is superior to–or more normal than–a same sex couple complex, but the term also applies when favoring any couple complex over a single person.)
But in the interest of going global with our mission, we wondered: how would one say these things in other languages? We were first drawn to this idea by fellow blogger and fellow Oneler Rachel, of Rachel’s Musings. She taught us that couplemania in German is Pärchendiktatur (literally–and rather obviously–”pair dictatorship”).
Even better is the Mandarin Chinese phrase for matrimania: 婚姻 狂热, or “marriage fanaticism”.
(In case our non-Chinese-speaking readers want to challenge matrimania on their vacation to Beijing–probably not recommended–we present this handy pronunciation guide: hun1yin1 kuang2re4, where 1 is a high tone, 2 is a rising tone, and 4 is a sharp downward tone, as you might use when saying, “No! I do not care if I don’t have a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/date.”)
We also figured out how to say “singlism” in Chinese: 单身 歧视, literally “single-person discrimination” (dan1shen1 qi2shi4).
We got our Chinese translations from the groundbreaking book Singled Out by social scientist and singles advocate Bella DePaulo, PhD, who coined the original English terms. (Yes, Singled Out has been translated into Chinese!) But we need you, Copious Readers, to help us with our collection. Can you give us non-English versions of our favorite words? If you speak another language but don’t know the correct word for matrimania, or singlism, or marital privilege, or heteronormativity, then just make one up!
Thanks, Danke, 谢谢，
Christina (and Lisa)
Photo credit: David Rumsey
Microwave Cooking for One: Sad or Spectacular? May 29, 2012Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Secret Lives of the Happily Single, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: cooking for onelers, lobsters, maraconi, microwave cooking for one, single people have dignity
Christina and I had a mini-Onely reunion when I landed in Philadelphia for a conference (she drove all the way up from Northern Virginia to see me – yay!). Among our many adventures, we found ourselves wandering around a delightful used bookstore in downtown Philly. Just as we were about to leave, I stumbled upon a major find – a cookbook entitled Microwave Cooking for One. It was so amazing, I decided to splurge and buy it ($2 USD + tax), and I gave it to Christina, since I don’t have a microwave.
We haven’t tested any of the recipes, but wanted to share some of our favorites so far – they range from fancy to practical, as you can see:
Fresh or Frozen, it’s no problem!
You can be sure to enjoy a rubbery, buttery meal for one with this delicious “Lobster Tail” meal for one.
The lovely Ms. Marie T. Smith gives us a more traditional recipe for pasta in the second version of this recipe, but if you cook the first version, the pasta (which she generally calls “macaroni”) will absorb all the water! I’ve never seen pasta do this, but I’m intrigued by the powers possessed by the microwave. There’s nothing like enjoying a soggy pasta topped with cold sauce (we can’t figure out why the sauce isn’t getting microwaved too) all by oneself.
Obviously, Christina and I are all in favor of cooking and eating for one and are happy to see progress made in this direction, but we also value our dignity. You might be able to guess our answer to this question, but we don’t want to be unfair to the talented Ms. Smith… Copious Readers, what do you think: Is Microwave Cooking for One Sad or Spectacular?