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Nuclear Families Defy Laws of Physics April 12, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Cute_grey_kittenI want to foster a cat(s), so I signed up for our county shelter’s foster class. Years ago I went through a phase of fostering Special Needs cats–with kidney, skin, urinary, psychological, and projectile snot issues. So I’m no feline foster virgin. But rules are rules, so I have to get my butt in a chair at the class.

But did you know that human rules can override the rules of physics? Yes! Especially when we’re talking about rules of singlism/matrimania/heteronormativity. Check out this paragraph from the orientation letter for the foster class. I don’t even really need to comment on it, because the WTF factor is perfectly apparent. Aw heck, I’m going to comment anyway, because my snark filter is broken:

Apparently, according to our county shelter, spouses and children of potential foster parents don’t take up any physical space in chairs! So they don’t need to RSVP for the class–they can just show up randomly and seating magically appears for them. If I wanted to bring a friend to the class, though, she would have to RSVP because she, as a mere friend, *does* take up physical space and require am actual, non-magical, reserved chair:

Please only RSVP for yourself. If you are bringing your children or spouses (which is allowed – but please be mindful that training room space is very limited, and the presentation is about an hour long), you do not need to include them in the number of people attending. If you have friends who are also interested in the program, they need to fill out the application and wait for an email inviting them to RSVP for themselves.

[Bold and italics are mine.]

–Christina

Photo credit: Wikicommons

 

Single? Then you don’t have money problems with your family or friends March 2, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Billets_de_5000Warning: May contain unsound rhetoric such as rants and name-calling. (Welcome to the blogosphere!)

On the surface, it seems single people are now Cool. For example, the media has been regularly highlighting the importance of singles, especially women, in regards to the U.S. economy and politics. Feminist writer Rebecca Traister’s book All The Single Ladies has gotten many (deserved) favorable reviews from a range of outlets. However, we singles advocates need to not get too comfortable or complacent.  There is still singlist bullpoop out there, in huge steaming piles. For instance, someone is starting a new organization to help people manage money–but only in the context of the nuclear family. The founders declare themselves “a Christian organization” but obviously their “Christian values” only extend to people who have state-sanctioned sex.

How do I know this? I subscribe to a website that solicits help naming various new companies. They regularly announce contests to name new startups, or a revamped doctors’ offices, or what have you. According to an email I received, the above-described financial consultation organization’s goals are to

help families create a strong and healthy relationship with money in their marriages. We are focused on married people and families with young children. . .

and to

help families strengthen their emotional, spiritual, and practical relationship with money. . . think of relationship enrichment and financial advice combined. . .

Because apparently single people don’t have any loved ones they share financial issues with and so don’t need any guidance navigating those murky money waters. According to the founders of this organization, my single cousin doesn’t need help managing the low-interest loan she took from my parents for nursing school; according to this company, as a single person, I  didn’t need help recovering the 500 dollars from a ticket incurred on my car by a former friend of mine; according to this company, only spouses and children pass money between each other, and those are the only financial relationships that need “enriching” (probably no pun intended–I doubt the authors were smart enough).

So why would the founders limit their demographic so severely? Because they’re small-minded, ignorant, and ultimately on the road to self-destruction before they even get started. Given the many federal laws that privilege married people over singles financially, you’d think that maybe singles are more likely to need money guidance (for example, how to pass property or money to a non-spouse without paying a huge gift tax).

The organization says that for their new name, they are “open to both abstract and names that clearly describe who we are”. Ok then! A few suggestions, for names and slogans:

Financial Help from Heteronormaholes

We Tell You Who’s Important

Some Hearts Are More Equal Than Others

Matrimania In Your Wallet

Copious Readers, do you have other suggestions?

–Christina

PS. See also: http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/02/political-power-single-women-c-v-r.html by Traister

Photo credit: Wikicommons

 

 

 

Singlist Quote Of The Week February 27, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Let them study, get married, then they can get their own phones.

–Ranjit Singh Thakor, president of the Mehsana district in Gujarat, India, speaking about single women.

Per this Reuters article by Rina Chandran), an increasing number of villages in Gujarat and Bihar Provinces forbid girls and single women from having cell phones, because the phones ostensibly “distract them from their studies” or cause them to elope. (No word on why men are not similarly affected by cell phones.)

Hmm, I recall a couple hundred years ago (I’m very old)  when another leader supposedly said of a marginalized demographic:

Let them eat cake!

Whatever happened to her?

–Christina

Singles: Married People’s Poop Pollutes Less Than Yours February 11, 2016

Posted by Onely in As If!, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Copious Readers: Just FYI, my long absence from Onely is not because I have lost interest in singles’ issues–on the contrary, I read about them every day in my Google feed–but because I have been sick. I had to focus more on the immediacies of daily life: food, medicine, mortgage, and, ahem, reruns of “Worst Cooks in America” on Netflix. But I was inspired to fight my way back to the keyboard through the pain for you, Copious Readers, to let you know that if you single, you had better get married, because if you’re married, your sh&t don’t stink. 

hqdefaultA tiny article in my parents’ local paper on Thursday, June 18 2015 announced: One Quarter of Septic Systems Found To Be Failing. (It doesn’t seem to be online; but here’s the article that predated it.)

Never one to shy away from an opportunity to read about poop, I explored this issue further, and I found the strangest instance of singlism (discrimination against single people) that I have yet encountered in all my years of writing this blog.

But first, some background: My parents live in a little log cabin on a lake within minutes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Native Americans considered it sacred long before my great-grandparents built a cabin there. My great-grandparents settled there long before the area was named “the most beautiful place in America” by Good Morning America. After that, the park drew increasing numbers of the kind of tourists who had a lot of money, but not a lot of imagination–the kind of people who have to be told where to visit, instead of inspiring themselves with their own research. (Yeah, yeah, bitter much?)

With the resulting crowds and McMansions in the woods (our little cabin is now megavintage), there’s been a struggle to maintain the area’s aesthetic integrity. Nearby Glen Arbor Township became “the first township in [Leelanau] county to require septic and well inspections for properties changing ownership,” according to the article. Failing or poorly constructed septic tanks can contaminate groundwater in a watershed that feeds dozens of small lakes, as well as Lake Michigan.

But here’s the thing:

If you sell the property to your spouse, you do *not* need to get your septic tank inspected.

Your twenty-year-old tank could be leaching poop-laced water into the surrounding earth 24-7, but that’s ok, because if you’re married, your poop doesn’t contain bacteria and toxins that pollute the soil and water tables. Or so it would seem, according to this ruling by the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department. As soon as you say, “‘Til death do us part,” your colon automatically purges itself of all environmentally toxic and pathogenic micro-organisms and chemicals (which is why wedding clothiers are increasingly offering the Silk Diaper option as an add-on feature to your dress or tux).

Who knew?

–Christina

Photo credit: Jim Duncan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1TZlwKHVo0

 

 

Onely On the Warpath September 7, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!, Bad Onely Activities, Heteronormativity, Marital Status Discrimination, single and happy, Take action.
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"Join_the_Navy_Nurse_Corps"_-_NARA_-_514736

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.

–Christina

Photo credit: Wikicommons

Say You’re Sorry by Slamming Single People March 14, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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Dear Copious Readers, Onely continues its quest to provide you with news articles about discrimination against single people (singlism). We strive for timeliness, which is why we’re bringing you this article merely a month after it appeared in the China Post.

Taipei Mayor  Ko Wen-je  (柯文哲)  pissed off a bunch of people when he said that

Single women over thirty are A Threat To National Security.

Sexism! Stupidity! yelled everyone with half a brain. But no one that we are aware of yelled Singlism! Until now. Onely, with our full brain (Lisa and I together make one intact mind), yells Singlism Singlism Singlism! between giggles.

Copious Readers, what kind of laughter, if any, does Mayor Ko’s statement engender in you? I usually have one of several responses when I read about singlism. First, there’s the kind that “makes me go hmmm“: such as Best Cities For Single People! which implies single people should move to Chicago or Minneapolis just to find a partner–never mind that they already have a great job and friends and balaclava in, say, Fargo. Then there’s the kind of singlism that makes me mad, such as discrimination against single parents (see these Guardian articles here and here).  Then there’s the kind of singlism that makes me laugh. I’m not sure if it’s angry laughter like that of the bad guy in the last scene of a James Bond movie, or if it’s laughter like I get when watching, um, Will Ferrell movies, or if it’s the hysterical laughter of hopelessness. Probably the latter.

The story gets even crazier. Mayor Ko’s words created such a ruckus that he was forced to apologize. And this is how he apologized (I paraphrase here):

I didn’t mean single women over 30 are threats to national security. I meant that all unmarried individuals over 30 are threats to national security.

Oh well in that case, you are no longer sexist, so we forgive you.

Again, few people noted that Ko simply replaced his sexism with singlism.

The article describes his rationale nicely, but we’ll summarize here:  Ko said instability in a country creates problems with national security. (Ok, we’ll give him that point.)  Low marriage rates create instability. (Really? Taiwan doesn’t have enough instability from other sources, such as typhoons and earthquakes and economic disparities and Big China looming just over the straits?) The magic percentage of unmarried people a country–or at least Taiwan–can handle before it falls into complete disarray is. . . 30.  (Really? Not 27? Not 36?)  A low marriage rate leads to a lack of families. (Because apparently the only valid kind of family is one with a hetero couple at its head.) Without enough nuclear families, there will be a lack of social well-being (nonsequitor much?) and the government will have to step in to make things better (God forbid). Thus diverting resources from national security.

Full discloser: I used to live in Taiwan. I understand that Taiwanese politicians face a constant pressure from the threat of mainland China’s claims on the island, and this influences the politicians’ opinions about national security. However, in this instance I think Ko has cracked up.

And when I read about his singlist theory, I cracked up too, with laughter. So for that, I thank him.

–Christina

 

From Proposal to Privilege: The Unearned Rights of Married People February 14, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought, STFU.
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Copious Readers: Four of us singles’ advocacy writers banded together to write about the scourge of. . . Marriage Privilege! Bella and Rachel recently published this article on the subject in TruthOut, and you can find Onely’s take below. We hope you’ll check both them out,  as well as a co-authored list version cross-posted by Rachel and Bella on their blogs. Below, skip to the More tab to read specific examples of marital privilege.

Declaration of IndependenceMillions of unmarried people in the U.S. and around the world are targets of discrimination, yet hardly anyone has noticed. It’s time for that to change.

Successful social movements upend fundamental worldviews so that what originally seemed unthinkable to a privileged majority comes to feel ordinary to almost everyone. Although many marginalized groups have still not achieved true equality – as the recent events in Ferguson highlighted for the world – many have still made considerable progress in recent history: African-Americans became property owners, businesspeople, and U.S. President. American women got the vote, and the earnings gap, which shamefully still exists, isn’t as great as it used to be. Gays and lesbians garnered more positive portrayals in popular culture and gained the right to marry in some U.S. states and other countries.

But during the transition from odd to obvious, there’s always push-back. People cling to their worldviews, beliefs that make them feel secure and rooted and right. A challenge to those views, even a gently-worded one, is scary.

Odd and scary is the idea that marriage provides invisible and unearned legal, political, and economic privileges to its participants, at the expense of unmarried people. Obviously this discrimination is not as nefarious as, for example, racism has been. But it does exist. It’s even codified: over 1,000 U.S. federal laws favor married people. This factoid becomes even stranger when you consider that today about half the adult population of the U.S. is unmarried (whether due to desire, divorce, death, discriminatory laws, or other life circumstances).

If you find yourself rolling your eyes at the above, saying to yourself that it’s not that big a deal, consider this: For a very long time, men went about their lives confident in the assumption that their ordinary experiences were just that – ordinary. Men were overwhelmingly represented on TV and in newspapers. Men were widely favored in the workplace. Men did not need to realize that women had equally valid perspectives and strengths, which were largely under-represented in dominant discourse. They were overwhelmingly represented on TV and in newspapers. They were widely favored in the workplace. They did not need to realize that women, African-Americans, and other groups had equally valid, but underrepresented, perspectives and strengths. In 1988, Peggy McIntosh, a Wellesley women’s studies scholar, took the lessons she had been teaching about male privilege and turned them on herself, as a white person. Her race, she realized, made her privileged, too.

Decades later we’ve progressed to discussions about male privilege and white privilege, and these conversations have raised our consciousness about all sorts of other unearned privileges, such as those conditional on age, social class, and sexual orientation. Yet marital privilege – a pervasive, powerful package of unearned benefits – remains largely unchallenged and rarely recognized. It is almost completely invisible to the populace at large, even across other categories that are now very visible, such as race and social class.

Yes, people know that if they marry, they get stuff, such as blenders and the option not to testify against their spouse (the narrower meaning of marital privilege). But these are seen as rights, not as privileges that disenfranchise other social groups (such as single people).

Many people are familiar with the socio-cultural aspects of what we call “marital privilege.” Perhaps the best-known example is the widespread assumption that single people will “die alone,” with no one at their death beds, croaking the words “if only I had married” to the spiderwebs on the ceiling. As single people ourselves, we have heard this warning from otherwise intelligent individuals, people who seem to forget that the world is awash with chaos like car accidents, cancers, and barracudas that could obliterate their spouse and leave the remaining partner to “die alone” (and be eaten by their pets).

If you’re part of the married half of society, you may never have questioned the social and economic benefits you automatically receive just because you tied the knot. That’s okay, because marital privilege is a stealth privilege: couples and singles alike are simply not taught to recognize it. McIntosh explained that whites are not taught to recognize their white privilege. We believe couples are especially unlikely to notice marital privilege, because the thing about privilege is that the people who have it can afford not to see it.

That’s why we’ve provided some ways to recognize if you are experiencing, or have experienced, marital (or couple) privilege in the U.S.:

MORE:

(more…)

Ashes to Ashes, Spouse to Spouse January 17, 2015

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, God-Idiot or Asshole?, single and happy.
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Ashes_Stock_6_by_birdsistersstockThis is a true story, and a sad story. And it’s an amatonormative story.  (Amatonormative means privileging certain love relationships over others.)

Once upon a time, my mother’s sister, my Aunt S, died at sixty of a heart attack while sitting at the kitchen table with my Uncle K. Although Aunt S had been married to Uncle K for only (if you can define “only”) about five years, Uncle K was well-liked by our extended family because he was kind, funny, intelligent, and really loved Aunt S. We all grieved the loss of Aunt S, but Uncle K was especially torn up of course.

We have a tradition in our family that when one of us dies, we sprinkle their ashes in a certain lake, which like my relatives shall remain anonymous. One afternoon we all gathered at our family property at the lake. Uncle K had brought Aunt S’s ashes in a brown wooden box. The traditional dumping site was a spot several hundred yards from the shore, where the trunk of a large tree lay in the sand.

We had a motorboat, a rowboat, and three pedal kayaks.

We had this many people: Uncle K. Uncle K’s two sons from a previous marriage. Aunt S’s three daughters from a previous marriage. And Aunt S’s siblings: Mitch, Jake, Blake, and my mom.

We were milling around when someone noticed that Uncle K and the kids were missing. Without so much as a how-dee-doo, they had climbed into the motorboat, puttered out to the tree, and spread the ashes with great ceremony and words of remembrance–or so they told us later, because none of the rest of us had been out there to see it.

I was shocked that Uncle K didn’t at least offer to squeeze one or two of Aunt S’s siblings into the boat–or at a minimum, arrange a caravan of slow motorboat and pedal kayaks out to the tree, so that my mom and her brothers could also spread their sister’s ashes.

None of the siblings felt they had the right to protest. After all, Uncle K was Aunt S’s spouse, and spouses trumped siblings, right?

Wrong.

But I had to respect my mom and Mitch and Jake and Blake for maintaining their silence and letting the grieving Uncle K have his moment of selfish amatonormativity. That emotional afternoon was probably not the right time to pick a fight. Instead, Aunt S’s siblings honored her in their thoughts and by looking at the lake, instead of partaking in the physical ritual itself.

But if my sister had died (God forbid) and her husband had co-opted the boat and gone out to sprinkle her ashes without me, I would have thrown a profanity-filled fit right there on the beach, then tried to swim after the boat, then choked on water because I’d still be screaming about what an amatonormative a-hole he was. He would have had to abort his ashing ceremony to turn the boat around and rescue me, and once on board I would have tried to sprinkle the rest of ashes, but my hands would be wet so the ashes would stick to my fingers instead of drifting off onto the wind.

Copious Readers, how would you react in a similar situation? Respectful albeit slightly bitter silence, or temper tantrum?

–Christina

Photo Credit: Bird Sisters Stock

Single and Sick: Nika Beamon Takes It On December 12, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Marital Status Discrimination.
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Copious Readers,

We at Onely are trying to write more about the issues of being single and sick (health insurance inequalities being one of the main bullsh!t factors creating a more difficult situation for singles with chronic illnesses).

So we were thrilled to see that Bella dePaulo, longtime singles advocate and social scientist, posted a guest article by Nika Beamon about dating and living with a chronic immune disorder.

Read it here.

We also tweeted it, so we request you retweet so that we can get the dialog going!

–CC

 

Thank You For Your Service–Unless You’re Single October 23, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!.
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6777258036_e1d2502fa6_bMy sister, who is a nurse in the Naval Reserves, was researching the logistics of her potential deployment, like the responsible, dedicated officer she is. Then while reading through the documentation, she discovered that her service is worth $250 less per month than a married person’s service.

Here’s the proof (I’m not sure what document it’s from, but somehow the “g.” is enough):

g. Family Separation Allowance (FSA). FSA is paid when a Service Member is involuntarily separated from his/her dependents or active duty spouse for more than 30 days. It is payable at $250.00 per month, or $8.33 per day. Service Members currently drawing FSA will continue to do so upon deployment. Service Members who reside with their Command Sponsored or Non Command Sponsored Family members will receive FSA the day they depart for the OIF Theater.

I’ll let her interpret this governmentese for you in her own words:

How very annoying.  I am missing out on $250/month, because I don’t have a “family”.  POOP!!! [Translation: Shit!!!] Bee [TN: her cat] is family!  And of course, I have you and M&D!!! [TN: our parents!!!]  And all of my friends!  How very irritating.

–Christina

Photo credit: Flickr

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