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Onely Throws A Hissy Fit September 2, 2010

Posted by Onely in As If!, Everyday Happenings, Food for Thought.
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12 comments

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.

–Christina

Photo credit:  Mattieb

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