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Marriage–Even The Dead Are Doing It March 21, 2016

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Great Onely Activities, Look What Google Barfed Up, Uncategorized, We like. . ..
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Even though single people–especially women–are taking the Western world by storm in politics and pop culture, our culture still has an unhealthy (unrealistic) obsession with marriage. Historically, marriage played many different roles in different cultures and this post does not intend to demean all the traditions behind marriages across the world.

Onely.org does, however, feel that marriage’s strong roots in abuse or belittling of women require that we look at the institution closely to see if it still meets our social needs, or how it can be adjusted to be a more equitable institution (IMO: Separ-ate Sex from State!). Or, allow marriage between the dead and the living. Either way, things need to be shaken up.

The below information on GHOST MARRIAGE comes from the very interesting Salon article by Ella Morton.

CHINA:

I am a previously-avowed Sinophile, but I don’t know the current status of the following tradition, so Copious Readers, feel free to weigh in:

The Ghost Marriage tradition (which is supposedly no longer legal, but happens anyway sometimes) developed from (shocker) the patriarchal family structure. When a childless single woman died, she left no one behind to honor her spirit. (Sound familiar? How many of you childfree woman out there have been asked, “But who will care for you when you are old?”) Part of the problem was that the woman’s birth family could not display a memorial for her; it had to be put on an altar in her husband’s home. But no husband, no altar. Solution? Ghost marriage. According to Morton,

A woman’s spirit can be worshipped by bringing her into the family of a husband who has been chosen for her after her death.

 

JAPAN:

I am a new Japanophile (?), having recently started Beginner 101 Japanese and read all about the classic Haiku travelling poets (Issa named himself after the bubble that comes up when you put a teabag in hot water–I plan to rename myself as well a soon as I come up with something half as fantabulous). However, I do not know about the ghost marriage aspect of Japanese history/culture so I’m hoping some Copious Readers can additional provide perspective.

According to Morton, who quotes Bride-Doll Marriage scholar Ellen Schattschneider, people who died early resented the “sexual and emotional fulfillment” they never received through living marriage. (Sound familiar? How many of you unmarried people have been told that you just don’t know what love really is, or that your life is meaningless, or that you aren’t as good at communicating and sharing as married people?) These supposedly  repressed, frustrated single dead people took out their frustrations on the living. Says Schattschneider:

Spirit marriage, allowing a ritual completion of the life cycle, placates the dead spirit and turns its malevolent attention away from the living.

 

(more…)

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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

Single Middle-Aged Women Are Makin’ Stuff Up! June 5, 2013

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up.
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421px-Roman_-_Head_of_a_Woman_-_Walters_23143_-_BackI know I promised in my previous post to follow it up with The True Story of the World’s Bitterest Single Woman, but this news piece preempted it. Sorry. Next time.

Copious Readers, intermittently you may have heard me refer to the fact that I have a chronic illness. It is the terrible (if I may be so melodramatic) and controversial Lyme disease. I have been told numerous times that my pain is in my head. Which is why I was so upset about about this news article that our Copious Reader Beth O’Donnell flagged for me and Lisa. Have you ever been accused of making up symptoms, either on purpose or subconsciously?

This Science Blog post cites–practically sings about–one study in a series of studies by the University of Gothenburg. It followed 1,500 women since the late 1960’s. According to the article, the study “showed” that when middle-aged women are under stress, they manufacture pain in their heads (somatization). And single women apparently somaticized more, because they had the highest degrees of stress (they tied with smokers).

Problem: There was no word on how the study defined stress or determined that singles (and smokers) had more of it.

Problem: The study seems, according to the article, to have based itself on a notion that the researchers already had: that the women were somaticizing already, prior to being studied. The article describes the study thus:

 [It] focuses primarily on stress linked to psychosomatic symptoms.

Um. How did the researchers originally determine which symptoms (if any) were psychosomatic? Via some kind of Vulcan mind-meld? I hope so, because the researchers apparently used their belief that they could determine somatization as a baseline for their study of the effects of stress on somatization.

May Be Not As Problematic As It Appears: We at Onely hate what this article is saying both about sick women and sick single women, but we must acknowledge that all our information comes from the article itself. As you know if you read Dr. Bella DePaulo’s blog, many studies are flawed and don’t show what they claim to show. Even more often, the media misrepresents the results of a perfectly well-designed and valid study–which I think is what happened at Science Blog. So Because we have not read the original study ourselves, the only thing we can get foul-mouthed about is the writing in the actual article itself.

This (luckily anonymous) Science Blog author is a shitty science writer. He uses the word “showed”. I consider this word on a par with “proves”. And as any halfway-educated sciencey type person knows, you can never “prove” anything. You can only disprove. Studies can only “indicate that. . .” or “reveal that possibly. . .” or “possibly show. . .”

I have two Masters’ degrees in English/Writing, plus a Bachelor’s in Health Science. You can’t imagine how excited I am to have the opportunity to be a word snob across my educational spectrum! (more…)

Single, Single, Little Star January 7, 2012

Posted by Onely in Look What Google Barfed Up, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature.
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Welcome to the latest installment in our series, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature, where we rage against mistreatment of singles–whether animals, plants, or extraterrestrials.

Onely’s long-time mission is to fight discrimination against singles. But lately we’re considering abandoning our quest. Why bother, when the very fabric of the universe is stacked against us?

Today we’re examining the super-fast “runaway” stars that streak through the Milky Way. Scientists originally thought that the stars used to be one of a pair of stars. A runaway star, they reasoned, was “fleeing a partner that exploded in a supernova,” according to  an article in New Scientist magazine (26 November 2011, p.17).

I liked this theory. The runaways had left their volatile, oppressive partner stars, preferring to zip around the galaxy as single stars. Or I guess you could say maybe the runaways had been dumped–it all depends on how you interpret, And so, then my significant other exploded in a supernova. . .

Either way, I was like “Go Single Star Power! Rah rah!” But then New Scientist burst my bubble. It turns out that runaway stars are actually victims of couplemania, or the privileging of the couple unit. Researchers have recently learned that the runaway stars are not halves of broken-up pairs at all. They are actually single stars that tried to hang out in orbit with a committed star couple. They gained their burst of speed when they were

booted out because the trio was gravitationally unstable.

Well you know the old saying, Two’s company, three’s gravitationally unstable. Or as New Scientist puts it,

Single stars that try to come between a stellar pair are flung away at breakneck speeds

Even though the star was just trying to be friendly. And that’s why Onely is giving Mother Nature a B*tchslap this week.

–Christina

Photo credit: Jem Yoshioka

Single? Then DIE! December 11, 2011

Posted by Onely in Look What Google Barfed Up, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature.
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Welcome to the first installment in our new series, Onely B*tchslaps Mother Nature, where we decry instances of discrimination against singles–in the natural world.

Onely’s regular readers know we hate it when couples are privileged over us singles. We hate paying more than couples at the gym. We hate that the beneficiaries of our IRAs have to pay taxes on that money, just because they’re not our spouses. We hate movies where the hero’s life magically becomes all hunky-dory just because she pairs up with someone. We hate singlism, and we’ve encountered a lot of it in our time.

But at least no one has ever tried to kill us because we were single.

No such luck for single cannibal shrimp. According to this article in New Scientist magazine,

Cannibal shrimp are so hell-bent on living in pairs that when placed in groups of three or four, they attack their peers until just one couple remains alive.

No matter what your stance on marital status discrimination, you have to admit that would make a really gripping reality show.

–Christina

Photo credit: oogoom

P.S. Yes, all you taxonomists out there, that photo is not actually of cannibal shrimp.  It’s a copulation between two male and one female Amano shrimp, who are apparently much more freespirited and less heteronormative than cannibal shrimp.

Worldwide Onelers: In China, Women’s Marital Status Impacts Their Careers March 9, 2010

Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Look What Google Barfed Up.
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Here is my Change.org post about how Chinese women are forced to pretend to be single in order to advance their careers, because single women are seen as less committed to family and more available for socializing with male customers.  Does anyone know what other countries this happens in? In the U.S. employers can be punished for asking anything about a woman’s marital prospects, but I’m not sure whether this actually affords female job seekers any actual protection from those annoying people who think single women will bail on the company as soon as  they find a man or get pregnant. I imagine that an unscrupulous or ignorant interviewer could make the assessment about a woman’s marital status/prospects without ever asking her anything about it, basing his judgment solely on her age and supposed attractiveness.

I promise to get back to writing posts on Onely soon. I plead clemency right now because I’m stricken with the terrible stomach flu, truly a Bad Onely Activity. Please stay tuned for my next post, which will involve Butts. (Not related to the stomach flu though.)

–Christina

Phob-cabulary November 2, 2009

Posted by Onely in Look What Google Barfed Up.
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Anuptaphobia

fear of remaining single

Gamophobia

fear of marriage

Can we count on our Copious Readers to use these words henceforth when discussing issues of single’s rights and the marriage mythology? = )  (It’s an amazing but sadly unsurprising fact that, after 1.5 years of blogging on WordPress, I still don’t know how to insert the yellow smiley-face icon.)

–Christina

Source: Haigh, Gideon. The Uncyclopedia. MJF Books, New York. 2004.

And we thought the U.S. government was obsessed with marriage! October 17, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up.
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Felicia Strehmel, "Open Mind"

The U.S. government gives married couples over one thousand rights that singles don’t receive. I used to think this was matrimaniacal (perpetuating the misguided notion that marriage is unequivocably beneficial for individuals and society). But now I see that matrimania is all relative.

The Malaysian government is giving away free honeymoons to encourage troubled couples to stay together and avoid divorce, which according to Malaysian government official Ashaari Idris has “serious implications on society.” Idris works for the northeastern state of Terengganu, a tourist beach mecca with many island resorts. Couples can apply for a two-night stay at one of these resorts; the process includes an interview in which, I imagine, the pair details their relationship difficulties and how a weekend on the beach would help them:

“If I could just walk with him hand and hand along the sunny strand, I wouldn’t care that he doesn’t listen to me.”

“I’m sure that after we come back from the seaside, she’ll want to have my mother over for dinner more often.”

If I were a single Malaysian, I’d be standing at the desk of some Terengganu official, trying hard as hell to capitalize on this offer too:

“My relationship with myself hasn’t been great lately. I think I need to wade in the surf and reconnect with my core being.”

or

“As a single person, I naturally have very low self-esteem, which has serious implications on society. If I could only go sit in the sun and soak up a sense of self-worth, I won’t end up shooting from a belltower and in fact I might even start having goods-consuming babies.”

And just when I was thinking Malaysia was pretty matrimaniacal, look what Google barfed up: the Saudi government is giving away free wives to rehabilitated terrorists. Historian and writer Robert Lacey visited a terrorist rehabilitation center in Riyadh where he learned that the Ministry of the Interior will buy wives for (supposedly) reformed terrorists, at the cost of sixty thousand Riyals (around US$18,000) each.  That’s how much faith the Saudi government has in the power of marriage to make people better!

Discussion questions: Copious Readership, can a weekend on the beach repair a fraying relationship? Can having a wife keep a terrorist from going out at night with the boys to blow things up? Is there merit to these efforts at all?

Additional discussion question (non-rhetorical, per Rachel’s comment below):  Does anyone have other examples of matrimania in different countries? Does the matrimania of countries other than the U.S. make the US’ matrimania look less bad, or does it make the U.S. look even worse? Regarding the latter, I think that for the U.S. to offer over 1,000 legal rights to married people at the expense of singles is almost *more* insidiously matrimaniacal than the Saudi government’s wife-selling ideas, because at least the Saudis don’t pretend to have a culture of sexual equality and freedom for all.

Christina

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. . .  

Christina

Nice Try, Nigeria August 28, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up.
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And now, the latest installment in our Look What Google Barfed Up series: Allison McCarthy’s interesting Global Comment article about the efforts by the Nigerian government (specifically, the Bauchi Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria, pithily acronymed BACATMA) to prevent the spread of AIDS:

By marrying off HIV-infected singles to each other! Yes! Because as we all know, the primary vectors for the virus are single people, not dirty needles or the rape-happy Nigerian police (as described in the Amnesty International report cited by McCarthy). According to the Global Comment article:

Single men and women, coming to the agency’s doors as patients in treatment for HIV/AIDS, are viewed as the primary spreaders of the virus.   (more…)

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