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Getting It All Wrong: Reconsidering “The Benefits of Being Single” August 11, 2012

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, STFU.
Tags: , , , ,
7 comments

Thanks to one of our Copious Readers from South Africa, Amelia, for bringing to our attention a ridiculously offensive article published recently in iAfrica, entitled “The Benefits of Being Single.”

Amelia told us,

I was very much looking forward to finding out what the financial benefits of being single are, as it’s always seemed to me more expensive not to have anyone to share the rent and other expenses with. But boy, was I in for a surprise!

Like Amelia, we had high hopes for the article. After all, the intro sounded promising:

There is a growing trend in South Africa (and it’s probably already a worldwide trend) for people to choose to remain single…. We no longer have to be married in order to be counted as serious or dependable (unless we are running for president).

Unfortunately, the article takes a nose-dive shortly thereafter, when we learn that:

the beauty of being single from a financial standpoint is that you are cheaper to maintain!

(Yes, the exclamation point was in the original…!)

Also,

You … don’t have to take other people’s needs into account, such as which area to buy a home in and how large that home should be.

And,

when going on holidays a single person can afford to travel more as there is only one airplane ticket to buy, one holiday package to purchase. If you don’t like holidaying on your own there are many travel clubs with groups to join and new friends to make.

And – my god – did you know that:

you can start that business that you always wanted with less personal risk. If the business does not pan out you have no family home that needs to be sold or repossessed by the bank, no children that need to be moved from their school after a forced evacuation. There is only yourself that will go through hardships because of mistakes you made and lessons you learned. Also, you can work the long hours it takes to build a business without paying too little attention to anyone.

So, let’s outline the problematic assumptions at work here

  1. Being single somehow means your expenses are lower, in spite of the fact that having two (or more) incomes and splitting the bills, sharing a house, paying for insurance, and even taking a vacation is significantly cheaper per person for couples and families than being single.
  2. Being single means that you have no significant relationships or obligations to maintain.
  3. Being single means that you have plenty of time on your hands.
  4. Being single means personal risk doesn’t matter, and it probably also means that you’re male, extroverted, wealthy, and/or white.

*Sigh.* Three cheers for the heteronormative mainstream media!

— Lisa and Christina

photo credit: http://www.fam.tuwien.ac.at

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