There are two aspects to my life project: An activist part and a theory part. Let’s call it evidence-based activism. And the key concept for both is singlism – external and internalized. In order to fight singlism, we need to understand how it is lodged into our psyches. That is, we need to know how singlism and matrimania develop. This involves looking into our heads, so to speak, and identifying the mechanisms for the development of these prejudices. I suspect that there are some human tendencies/cognitive mechanisms that underpin the development of prejudice/stereotypes. And then there are some that entrench the whole thing (like the belief in a just world, resistance to change, etc). So, there are cognitive biases on which stereotypes build that turn into prejudice and system justification. The idea of “false consciousness” will be central on the theory building side as will be the idea of raising consciousness on the activism side. Essentially, the theory building involves largely integrating and synthesizing work done by others and applying it to singlism and matrimania (I have read that the development (etiology) of prejudice content is not that well understood yet but either way, I would like to develop an end-to-end theory of prejudice, which I don’t think exists yet.)
- What are the forces that keep marriage in place?
- Maybe other ways of putting this:
- What systems are key to the development of singlism and matrimania?
- Why do people marry?
- What beliefs are used to justify the centrality of marriage in society and individual lives?
- What cognitive structures underpin stereotype and prejudice development and which ones solidify the status quo through system justification in the cases of matrimania and singlism?
- What is the difference between matrimania and singlism? Are they really two sides of the same coin?
I am not sure if this fits into philosophy as a discipline. There is a tad bit of philosophy there – the concept of “false consciousness” came originally from Karl Marx. But overall, this touches more on research in social psychology. Thus, I’ve been reading a lot in social psychology, especially work by John Jost. It is fascinating and very helpful for understanding how things might fit together. But there seems to be a lack of activism – the studies are not turned into ways of changing the world (or maybe I haven’t found those yet, which is entirely possible! Feel free to correct me in the comments!). And I want an activism part: I don’t just want to understand things, I want to change things!
Once we know how singlism & matrimania develop and how they embed themselves into our minds, it might be easier to fight them. Awareness is half the battle, as I am finding out in my celibacy self-study! I can use the theory to develop questions and things to watch for to counter-act our “natural” tendencies toward couplemania (where “natural” here means the whole developmental system that is in place to “create” singlism and matrimania). There are tools that can be used for the deconstruction of internalized singlism. The activism side also involves a constructive side: Community building, which can counteract external singlism, and tools for developing self-love, which also heal internalized singlism. Kay Trimberger identified community as one of the important aspects of a happy single life.
So, the questions I am pondering are along these lines:
- What field would allow me to incorporate both the theory and the activist side?
- Are the theory questions above philosophical questions? If not, what field would they fit into? Or how could I turn them into philosophical questions?
- Do I even need more education/training? If not, what path could I take?
Let’s see if we can do some collective brainstorming! 🙂