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Singlism and Sexism Interact — 10 Comments

  1. Single men are viewed as creeps, losers, weirdos, sexual deviants, likely paedophiles, likely sex offenders, deadbeats, failures, neckbeards, basement dwellers. In fact the archetypal failure/sad sack as portrayed in 1000 TV and film comedies is a single 40 something male with a bald head, a shabby apartment and nervous awkward behaviour. This sort of character is portrayed as about as low as a human being can sink in whatever work they feel. Single men see their wages suffer as a result of their singleness, the reverse is true for women. Some jobs and opportunities you’d be cut out of all together due to the likely paedophile/predator stereotype.

    The reason why the is because rich men get a pass. The awful stereotypes of single men are only really applied to poor men. And feminists only look at rich men. That’s why the Forbes list doesn’t care about the marital status of men: because it’s talking about rich men. At the 4 way intersection though of single, old (middle aged anyway), male and poor though you get probably the single most despised group in society so honestly the idea that women somehow have this particular issue worse is one of the worse lies of feminism.

  2. Yes, that Forbes article was awful.

    Also, one way in which singlism and sexism intersect is the doctor-patient relationship. I have heard of a number of anecdotal cases where a doctor has diagnosed a woman’s sickness as being because she doesn’t have a boyfriend. I have never heard the reciprocal for a man. Not to say it doesn’t happen, but I’ve never heard of it.

    Christina

  3. Back to the original post…

    I made a comment about something similar at Bella DePaulo’s site. I noted that I heard far more about singlism from single women than single men. But is that because single men experience less discrimination, or are simply less aware? There’s far more discussion of single women than single men, so maybe singlism just isn’t that recognized among single men…

    • That singlism among men is less recognized is a possibility. What I am suggesting here, though, is that singlism is directed more against women because traditionally (and apparently still currently in the case of Forbes) we are being measured by our marriageability more so than men are. If a woman’s life success is measured by who she married, singlism would hit her harder. If a man’s life success is measured by the size of his bank account, singlism would hit him less. (Now, I think both is wrong and has some dramatic negative social consequences).

  4. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I know a few women who are unmarried. Most of them are artsy in one way or another. A couple have had children deliberately out of wedlock. I admire these women for their courage, AND for their refusal to blame men. I look forward to the day when there are more like them.

    • I look forward to the day when men start listening to critiques brought up by women without going into the defensive and accusing us of all sorts of things. Nobody is blaming men. Men are in a position of power – it’s systemic power, not (necessarily) individual power. That’s the problem. Neither Paula nor I are blaming men for violence.

  5. Wow. What a tall order for women. To be responsible for everyone’s emotional well being is an arduous task. And what are men responsible for???? I haven’t still figured that one out yet. I guess they are good at keeping the violence going and increasing the prison populations. Ninety percent of the people in the arrest log in my local paper are men. Most of the CEOs of the greedy corporations that currently run the US are men (and should be behind bars as well). I guess some woman along the way must have failed them.

    I think that women (married and single) would benefit from a little civil disobedience. We should look to Gandhi, Thoreau, and Martin Luther King in order to get some ideas. We should just stop. Stop getting married. Stop having children. Stop cooking and cleaning and caring. Stop shopping, botoxing, breast enhancing and dieting. And most of all, we should stop feeling bad because we don’t want to do it anymore. Maybe after a little rest, the world might turn out to be a better place.

    • YES! I very much like the civil disobedience idea! In fact, I feel a bit like Lysistrata by choosing to be single and celibate. The political implications of that choice alone have not escaped my notice.

      One of the sad side effects of the women’s movement of the 1960s & 1970s is that now women are expected to do it all (and be happy doing all). It did not lead to a more equitable distribution of the responsibilities, nor to a healthier society (at least here in the US). It is time to stop meeting those ridiculous expectations!

    • Holding men solely responsible for the violence in the world is not a productive thesis. That so many men (in America, anyway) end up in prison is not cause to gloat; it’s a tragedy that speaks to our collective failure to create a society where everyone can find useful and fruitful employment; and that our drug laws belong in the middle ages, not to mention the prison system itself. Are native peoples deserving of this sort of contempt because they make up a dispoportianate percentage of the inmate population? Blacks? Poor women? Many men, myself included, would be happy to discredit marriage as the “ideal” relationship standard. In Canada, there are now more common-law relationships than formal marriages. The birth rate among Canadian citizens has now fallen below that needed to replenish the population, and we rely on immigration to increase our numbers. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the expense of rearing a child for 18 years. Most of the men I know do not expect their partners to cook/clean etc. and do not want anything to do with the sort of relationship their parents had. I support any and all progressive child care policies that give working women choices in child bearing and employment opportunities. Many men run companies that are doing their part to slowly change the capitalist paradigm we are all currently suffering under. Single men who choose not to marry undergo social pressures also; perhaps not as severe as women, but it’s still there. We all have along way to go in breaking down sexual/relational norms. Monogamy and marriage have been institutionalized and mythologized for a long time, and we all underwent the brainwashing. How about not making enemies out of your potential allies? And don’t create a false notion of a unified community of women who all want exactly the same thing for themsleves. The “community of women” is no more a reality than the “black community” or the “gay community” or the “WASP community”. I’m a WASP, and botoxing, fake tits, diet fads and compulsive consumerism don’t turn my crank.

      • I think you’re making many good points, Brent, especially “How about not making enemies out of your potential allies?” That’s a really good point.

        However, the empirical reality – rather than the anecdotal evidence you cite – is that most men still do less housework than women; that most companies are run by men etc. In other words, patriarchy is still very firmly in place. We have a long way to go before what gender we are is just as unimportant as eyecolor, as Wasserstrom puts the ideal.

        Not sure how the legal situation is in Canada but did you know that US companies are legally required to maximize shareholder profit? So, unless these men who you mention as changing the capitalist paradigm run private companies, their ability to change that paradigm will be rather limited (especially in our short-term profit mentality world).

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