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Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It May 22, 2011

Posted by Onely in Academic Alert!, Great Onely Activities, Pop Culture: HOPE for the Onelys, single and happy, Singles Resource.

Alert! Alert!

We are pleased to point all our Copious Readers to an important new PRO-SINGLES book, Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It, edited by Bella DePaulo. The title says it all – the book demonstrates how singlism seeps into every aspect of our lives (politics, religion, law, pop culture) but remains generally unchallenged in the public sphere. 28 contributors (including DePaulo herself) articulate how readers can define, detect, and ultimately stand up to singlism in everyday life.

We are thrilled about this new collection, and we imagine you will be too. The book is available for immediate purchase via Amazon or this website, and it will be available on Kindle next month. Full press release after the jump: (more…)

Singlism? Feminism? What Gives? (Part Two) December 15, 2009

Posted by Onely in Academic Alert!, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Your Responses Requested!.
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In my last post, I wanted to highlight how the pro-singles movement, in targeting and attracting women as its main audience and voice(s), risks inadvertently framing itself as gender-exclusive. This potential problem, in turn, runs against our feminist goals of countering dominant and oppressive ways of thinking and being. It should be clear, from this and other posts, that we hope to solicit more male voices into our conversations and advocacy work. While both Christina’s perspective and my own will necessarily be limited by our positions as women, we are also committed to our feminist perspectives, which motivate us to read against the (heteronormative) grain and to hopefully recognize and articulate the limitations of our positions.

But I’ve been noticing another limitation that seems to have fueled some of the debate — and misunderstandings — about why men seem less prevalent in the pro-singles blogosphere: In many of our conversations about gender (at least here at Onely and in our cross-posts at Quirkyalone), it seems to me that when we talk about the relationships between men and women (or lack thereof), we are assuming that these “men” and “women” we speak of are heterosexual. And if we assume that, then we aren’t doing much to forward our feminist goals, either.

Making this assumption is easy to do, especially when one (such as myself) identifies as heterosexual. (more…)

Singlism? Feminism? What gives? (Part One) December 12, 2009

Posted by Onely in Academic Alert!, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, quirkyalone, Your Responses Requested!.
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A few days ago, Christina examined the surprisingly singlist and sexist publicity blurbs for two seemingly pro-single books. She notes that the blurbs “[remind] us of how tightly anti-feminism is woven into anti-singlehood rhetoric.” And it’s true: Onely is grounded, at its heart, in feminist values and beliefs specifically because of this connection.

As we explain on our “About Onely” page, we see the fight against singlism as a feminist project in the sense that we question the oppressive perspective that normalizes a particular (sexual-social) practice — coupling — at the expense of those who remain single. We believe that the same sexist (and heteronormative) perspective that fails to value multiple gender and sexual identities also fails to recognize those of us who prefer living alone to coupling.

But another thing strikes me as equally interesting about this linkage: I wonder if it’s a mere coincidence that Rosie the Riveter’s message above could apply as much to women as it could to singles. (more…)

Another Reason Institutionalized Couplehood SUCKS October 7, 2009

Posted by Onely in Academic Alert!, As If!, Just Saying., Look What Google Barfed Up.
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Because it breeds sexism!

According to an 11 August 2009 article in USA Today, fifty percent of Americans think that a woman should be required by the federal government to take her husband’s last name

How. F&king. Scary. The institution of marriage–and I’m talking about the federally sponsored institution–allows people to put men and women in boxes according to roles defined hundreds of years ago, when things were very different in society (no good birth control, no good jobs for women, no IPod Nano). 

The study was done by researchers from Indiana University and the University of Utah, who asked “about 815 people a combination of multiple choice and open-ended questions to come up with the find”. The USA Today article doesn’t say exactly who the respondents were. My sister–possibly in an attempt to get me to stop hyperventilating–pointed out that given the involvement of U of Utah, there might have been a large number of Mormons participating, which would possibly skew the results toward a more conservative view of gender roles (not that we know much about Mormonism). 

I’m afraid it’s more likely that the researchers–presumably not fools themselves–selected from a relatively wide demographic more representative of the nation than, say, Mormon college students. I wanted to do the Bella DePaulo thing and go to the original study, but I couldn’t find it after a search of ASAnet and EBSCO and U of Indiana, and I was too weak from the hyperventilating to continue looking further. If anyone knows where  I can go to read the original study write-up, please let me know. Otherwise, I will be forced to continue to view 50 percent of my country’s population as ignorant dinks. Help help! 

And lest you think I’m being a little harsh, check out some of these quotes from survey respondents, as related to the New York Daily Mail by lead researcher Linda Hamilton: 

When the respondents were asked why they felt women should change their name after the wedding, Hamilton says, “They told us that women should lose their own identity when they marry and become a part of the man and his family. This was a reason given by many.”

“They said the mailman would get confused and that society wouldn’t function as well if women did not change their name,” Hamilton says.

“Asked if they thought of a lesbian couple as a family, those who believe that women should take their husband’s name are less likely to say yes,” she says. “If you’re more liberal about the name change issue, you tend to include a larger population in the definition of family.”

According to the USA TODAY article, Hamilton, a sociology researcher at Indiana University, found the finding “really interesting”. She makes an excellent point: “Because [the name change issue] is not politicized, people just answer the question without really thinking about it. It sort of taps into people’s views about all kinds of things.” Did the survey yank back the veil of political correctness and reveal the pock-marked face of America? Ok, that’s a slightly sexist metaphor, but at least I’m not saying the pockmarked bride should be required to take her husband’s name!  

My ex-boyfriend R said that if we got married, he’d want me to take his last name as a sign of caring and commitment (or some such). I disagreed and fortunately the conversation–which remained relatively light–wandered to  other topics. R was raised in a conservative household (they watched Rush Limbaugh), and although he eventually moved much further leftward, obviously he was not as far left as I was on women’s issues.

Copious Readers, here are your discussion questions: Do you know how to find out who the 800+ study respondents were? Should more women be encouraged to keep their last names? Why don’t more men change their last names to express care and commitment toward their wives? When a gay couple gets married, does one person change their name and if so, how do they decide who? If not, then can we use these gay couples as examples of how to avoid logistical difficulties in a two-name family? If one train leaves from New York travelling west at 50 m.p.h. and another train leaves Houston travelling northeast at. . .  


Academic Alert! Michael Cobb’s “Lonely” June 24, 2009

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Academic Alert!, Essay review, Food for Thought, Reviews, single and happy, Singles Resource, We like. . ..
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academicWe here at Onely–as well as our Copious Readership– have always known that society’s obsession with coupling is “toxic” and a form of “terrorism”.  But now we’ve found an established literary theorist who has expressed this idea using those very words, albeit articulated in academic language.

As most of our regular readers know, I am currently working on a Ph.D. in a Rhetoric and Composition. This summer, one of my major tasks is to compose proposals and reading lists for two of the three exams I will take in the fall. One of my exams will focus on feminist and queer theory — and as I was doing research for the reading list last week, I came across an article in the South Atlantic Quarterly called “Lonely,” written by Michael Cobb. Cobb, who specializes in queer and critical theory, is interested, as the title indicates, in the effects of American culture’s stigmatization of singles.


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