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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…)

Super Saccharine: Seekingarrangements.com April 17, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Dating, Food for Thought.
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images1Lisa found an interesting New York Times article by Ruth Padawer about a web site that hooks rich men up with young, beautiful, financially strapped women, often college students working their way through school. The Sugar Daddies provide their Sugar Babies with money, gifts, trips, and swank (often under the euphemism “mentoring”) in exchange for companionship, sex, and arm candy. 

Before I read the article, I thought I knew how I felt about this site, Seekingarrangements.com: Yuck!  But the piece includes some very interesting quotes from users of the site, Seekingarrangement.com, that shed new light on the practice of being a daddy or a baby. After reading the article, my feelings about Seekingarrangements.com were: Still Yuck!  

Whether or not you think this site amounts to prostitution (I’m not sure), it is undeniably perpetuating a sexist power dynamic. As Padawer says, “The ‘baby’ is the one who regulates her appearance, schedule, behavior and emotions to make the payer feel special.” (The baby is overwhelmingly female, and only one percent of the sugar daddies are actually sugar mommies). 

I’ll paste a couple of the more interesting quotes from Padawer’s article below and let our Copious Readership weigh in. What do you all think? (more…)

Sexist Slumdog Millionaire: Tell Celador Films They Botched It February 11, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, film review, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys.
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(Greg Hernandez, Wikicommons)

Did anyone on the Oscar committee, or anyone voting for the Oscars, actually read the book on which the movie Slum Dog Millionaire was based? I sincerely hope not. Because if they did read the book, and they are still generating Oscar buzz after having read it, then gratuitous sexism is more frighteningly ensconced in our pop culture than I realized.

In the movie, Jamal’s love interest Latika is shuffled around at the behest of first one evil man, and then another, battered and sexually assaulted and used for her looks. Finally, her ultimate rescue is facilitated first by Jamal’s brother Salim, and then by Jamal.

But in the excellent book, Q&A by Vikas Swarup, although Latika is abused by the men in her life and suffers all sorts of injustices, in the end–guess what? She shows up at the end of the movie as a high-powered lawyer who swoops in and saves Jamal when the game show producers are beating him and accusing him of cheating.

Was that ending not exciting enough for the SDM producers? (more…)

Great Onelies in Real Time: Dr. Trudy Steuernagel February 4, 2009

Posted by Onely in Great Onelies in Real Time.
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Onely salutes Dr. Gertrude Steuernagel, a beloved and progressive women’s studies and political science professor at Kent State in Ohio. Steuernagel is an accomplished and outspoken and feminist and autism advocate. As she raised her adored son Sky, who is autistic, she also found time to make an impact in both the women’s movement and in mental health advocacy–all while Onely.

Trudy Steuernagel (NewsChannel 5, via msnbc)

Tragically, last week Steuernagel was severely beaten by Sky.  Autism does not/not cause violence in and of itself, but the resulting sensory overload and frustration of not being able to communicate can cause sufferers to lash out, and Sky had other neurological challenges as well that may have contributed to the assault. He didn’t know what he was doing.  Steuernagel knew the challenges associated with caring for Sky, but she also knew the joys, as she describes in this amazing essay. She is truly a Great Onely, and we send our strongest well-wishes out to her numerous family and friends.


Great Onelies in Real Time: Wang GuiYing January 13, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Great Onelies in Real Time, Heteronormativity.
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A Chinese woman has decided to become unsingle after 107 years of Oneliness

She didn’t marry because she was afraid of marriage. When we are tempted to glorify the long, historic tradition of man-woman matrimony and disparage those of us who, for whatever reasons, are not participating in it, let’s also take a moment to listen to Wang Gui Ying’s story (Reuters cites the ChongQing Commercial Times): 

Born in southern Guizhou province the child of a salt merchant, Wang grew up watching her uncles and other men scold and beat their wives and often found her aunt crying in the woodshed after an attack, the paper said.

“All the married people around there lived like that. Getting married was too frightening,” she said of an era when Chinese women had few rights and low social standing.

For me, Wang Guiying makes an interesting contrast to the many people nowadays (at least in the west) who marry because they are afraid of being single (I know, I know, not everyone–but lots!).  Wang kept the family farm going until she was 74. Now that she’s finally beginning to slow down, she’s worried about being a burden to her nieces and nephews. (more…)

Other Lisa’s comment: Stigmas against Married. . . Women August 5, 2008

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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The Other Lisa makes an excellent and interesting comment regarding stigmas against marrieds. We hope to address that issue more soon. For now, I just want to say that Other Lisa’s issue also appears to have a feminist nexus.  She says,

“i was reminded again and again that being a young, married woman was the most pathetic thing one could be. . . i’m assuming most people thought that my most important accomplishment was getting married.”

I’m interested to hear whether young, married men feel this kind of judgment on them. (more…)

Onely as Feminist Resistance July 26, 2008

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Essay review, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Reviews, Singled Out.
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I recently finished an essay by Adrienne Rich entitled “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” which is old in terms of publication date (1980) but new – brand new – to me. Rich’s primary argument is directed against feminist scholars who deny, ignore and/or marginalize the fact of lesbian existence, but she also mentions other “facts” of female existence – such as living alone and/or single – that have also been ignored in the face of what she calls “compulsory heterosexuality.” (more…)

Friendship, Being Onely, and Being Female July 22, 2008

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
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In an earlier post, Christina wrote about how she had been “thinking about how so often we measure the passage of time in units of relationships, marriages, and children” and went on to point out some of the many other markers we could use to “measure” and “value” what we’ve done in our individual lives. This post keeps making its way back into my mind because one of the most important markers, for me, has been and continues to be the handful of close female friends I have made and kept even while moving from place to place over the last 10 years or so. (more…)

Alert! Alert! July 21, 2008

Posted by Onely in As If!, Dating, Food for Thought.
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Whether you love or hate Hillary Clinton, this kind of effort by the Bush administration affects everyone. Please read Clinton’s blog posting about a set of regulations set to put in place the labels all kinds of contraceptives – including birth control, IUDs, and emergency contraception – as “abortion.” There is a petition you can sign, too (at the end of the rhreality post):


BOOK REVIEW: Full Frontal Feminism, by Jessica Valenti July 11, 2008

Posted by Onely in book review, Reviews.
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Valenti, Jessica. Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters. Seal Press, 2007:

“Value yourself for what the media doesn’t–your intelligence, your street smarts, your ability to play a kick-ass game of pool, whatever. So long as it’s not just valuing yourself for your ability to look hot in a bikini and be available to men, it’s an improvement.”

Full Frontal Feminism‘s text skips along while it imparts knowledge–a rare enough combination. The book condenses the contents of a thirteen-page bibliography into colloquial prose, presenting vivid example after vivid example of why we all (women *and* men) need to identify as feminists and buck the ridiculous stereotype that feminists are always hairy-legged man-haters. (Not that it isn’t sometimes delightful to forego shaving for weeks on end during the winter.)   (more…)

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