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Onely Throws A Hissy Fit September 2, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
Tags: , ,

The No. 1 villain in all of England right now is 45-year-old unmarried bank employee Mary Bale, who was caught on video approaching a cat on the street, petting it, and then, like someone who has completely lost her mind, throwing it into a lidded garbage can.

Yes, and right now the No. 1 villain in the singles’ advocacy blogosphere (or at least, in Onely) is New York Magazine, which decided that Bale’s unmarried status was relevant enough to put it in the clause describing the sort of person Bale is.

Am I overreacting? (Who me, overreact?) My mom called while I was writing this and I threw a tantrum over the phone, ranting about how no one would ever write,

The No. 1 villain in all of England right now is 45-year-old married bank employee Mary Bale, who was caught on video approaching a cat on the street. . .

My mom suggested that maybe, had Bale been married, the article would have said, “Mary Bale, married mother of three, threw a cat in the garbage. . .” Perhaps.  But if so, why is marital status pertinent to a description of a person’s actions? The same question could be asked about the relevance age and employment, but this isn’t an anti-agism or anti-jobism blog, it’s an anti-singlism blog. And I say that it’s singlist to put Bale’s unmarried status right there in the first sentence.

The placement is all wonky. “Unmarried” on the heels of “45-year-old” gears the reader up to form a judgment about Bale’s unmarried status, based on her age–usually a negative judgment, given the prevalence of the stereotype of the over-forty (or god help us, over-thirty-five) woman who has forfeited her chance to marry and therefore become desexualized or asexualized (and, by extension, forfeited some of her power in a patriarchal society).

Then almost immediately after her age and marital status, we’re told that this woman is also someone who did something insane and evil. This is just another chance for readers to subconsciously link “unmarried” with “crazy and/or deficient”.

Author Dan Amira must have just gotten confused–he forgot that unmarried women don’t throw away cats, they collect them.


Photo credit:  Mattieb


1. Alan - September 3, 2010

I think they do this with the elderly as well, in particular with stories of auto accidents. Almost always mention the age.

2. Singlutionary - September 3, 2010

We focus on whatever isn’t “normal”. I am assuming that the woman was white. Because, if not, her race would certainly have been mentioned. Being unmarried at 45 is considered unusual — and perhaps — problematic. If she were a 21 year old, no, her marital status would not have been mentioned. We think in types. We think we can gather a lot about a person depending on if she is married or unmarried, young or middle age or old, white or some “other”.

I kinda love this story. But then again, I kinda love crazy people of all types.

Onely - September 4, 2010

You don’t discriminate among your crazies = )

Wildspell Inheritance - September 6, 2010

Yes, I do think, if the girl was or wasn’t married at 21, this would have been mentioned. Either it would have been a tone of horror implying that there is something wrong with her for her TO get married so young or, paradoxically, not be married, yet. I also think that people tend to find it more problematic when a woman isn’t married.

I am a onely. The only way I would consider a relationship with a partner would be if it was a domestic, non-romantic one. I am also childfree. Imagining the horrors that that would give many people, on TOP of my(preferred) single status, leads me to be amazed that this wasn’t mentioned in regards to this woman’s progeny status, though, because it sounds as if she, too, is childfree. But I would, also, only reconsider this particular status (which is something else that has to come into play before I would even consider making any decision on developing the above stated relationship, as well) if I were going to have an adopted child (so, even more horrors, eh? I’m not fulfilling the biological function that I, as a woman, was placed on this earth for, after all…).

3. OneFoot - September 4, 2010

Love this site, love your take on singledom. I hate being told or being given the indication I’m inferior because I’m not coupled. If I find someone that I want to share my life and adventures with, great, otherwise let me be happy living my life. As for this article, yep this is the result of people subconsciously (or purposely) seeing and portraying us singletons as inferior regardless of age. Seen it with race, age, whatever, there’s always some subconscious connection with stereotypes. Hate it.

Onely - September 4, 2010

Yes, and the fact that it’s subconscious makes it even more insidious and hard to counter.

Oh, also thanks for the support! = )

4. Onely - September 4, 2010

Here’s another one:


“Unmarried Jean said: ‘I was walking up the stairs and there were two lads urinating. I said to them, ‘You filthy swines’. They turned and aimed at me, leaving me soaking, then they swore at me to get back in my flat.”


5. Lauri - September 7, 2010

It seems perfectly rational to me. The best way to convey that someone is psychotic is obviously to mention that they are single. If she weren’t psychotic, clearly she would have attracted a nice young man when she was 26, moved in together a year later, received a ring at 29, worn a big white dress at 30 and promptly gotten pregnant with the first of four children. I mean aren’t all people who DON’T do this local crazies with a propensity for animal cruelty? I throw all my cats in the garbage. It’s where they go when you’re not married.

Onely - September 15, 2010

And the dog. Don’t forget the dog.

6. Lauri - September 7, 2010

as for Unmarried Jean, if she had been Married Jean, this never would have happened. Her husband would have gone out there and given those hoodlums a piece of his mind! No one would have been urinated on, and those kids probably would have realized the error of their ways, started studying, gone to college, and eventually, cure cancer. If only Jean had been married!

7. Chris - November 8, 2010

The papers also seem very fond of child-counting: ‘mother of two”, “father of one” (or even better, “married father of one”) etc. As though this somehow made any difference – probably suggesting that people had to be far more well-balanced if they had children. Well I don’t, so.

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