Studying Singlism — 13 Comments

  1. I know their is also bullying of persons into being single I.e for personal satisfaction or to make a person feel superior often with patronising comments such as “it does not matter” or “no one minds if you don’t have a partner”
    I believe everyone should have a choice if you want to be single thats fine, If you don’t want to get married ok and if you don’t want to attend a party/social function alone you are entitled to attend with who you want.
    Should singletons stick up for their rights and should others recognise when the bullying occurs and move to reverse this trend?

    • Thanks for your comment, Mark! I would find it helpful to get examples of what you see as “bullying” because it’s not clear from your comment what you mean by it. Why are comments like “it does not matter” or “no one minds you don’t have a partner” patronizing? Are they examples of what you consider “bullying”?

      I agree with you that it’s mostly about choice – and the choice to be single is culturally restricted by the cultural norm of the couple and the preferential treatment of couples that goes with that.

  2. True, if you live in society it’s more likely you’ll adapt in such a way.

    The council of dad post is indeed interesting, thanks!

  3. I have to say I find RedKiwi’s first point to be a bit exaggerated, perhaps influenced by stereotypes of singles. I suspect that there are very few singles who have no emotional need at all for another person, who show “stoic indifference”. That seems to play into stereotypes that singles are loners (and possibly a bit unbalanced).

    I would suspect instead that all singles, to varying degrees, fall into the second category. But I don’t think that there are more than a very few who are hermits.

  4. Thanks, RedKiwi! Your last line made me smile because that’s exactly it: Ultimately, we need to be self-sufficient although I think lots of people can help us with that. So, I think being single is really a combination of 1 + 2. We are our own pillar of strength but we also get emotional support (and hugs or more) from other people. I think the important thing is really to develop a level of independence, though, so that our emotional balance is not dependent on whether we have a partner or not nor on how many friends we have etc. (And that can be damn hard because that’s not we learn growing up – at least I didn’t… But I am finding it well worth the effort: Both developing the stoic detachment and building a friendship network that is supportive.)

    It is a frustration for many of us in the singles movement (see for example DePaulo’s post) that there don’t seem to be any vocal men in it! Feel free to change that 🙂 – I think there’s a real need for more male involvement.

  5. When I say ‘single’ I think of two possible scenarios:

    1) Being alone, you have no emotional need or otherwise of any other person, a sort of stoic detachment. There’s no particular need for anyone, you are your own pillar of strength, indifference is prevalent.

    2) You are alone but you might need other people for emotional support – close friends or something of this sort – or for sexual needs. The thing is, you are not completely dependent on someone else, you distribute where the satisfaction of your needs comes from – which we might take as a sort of safety mechanism – so while you’re not going to focus on one person, the dependency (small or not) on other people is still there.

    I appreciate the list for future lecture but I do have to raise an eye-brow when most of the authors are women, usually they target the female audience and I’m a man, or rather still a kid, really. I try not to get stuck on preconceived ideas though.

    And on an ending note, I do believe one person can meet most of your needs, and that’s each for him(/her)self.

  6. I am not exactly sure what your question is… The idea that one person can meet all of our needs is a myth perpetuated by matrimania (or more generally couplemania). There is no diversion going on – it is simply accepting that reality and calling a myth a myth.

    You might want to check out books for singles, my attempt to define the various layers of discrimination faced by singles and other unmarried people, and/or a more personal note on my choice to be single. There’s also a cool book that might address some of your questions more concretely: Marie Edwards’ The Challenge of Being Single. You can find some summaries/excerpts here.

    If this doesn’t help, feel free to ask your question again… I might not understand what you are trying to get at but I presume that it is reflection of your belief that one person can meet all (or most) of your needs, which is neither true for a coupled nor a singled person.

  7. So, basically, you’re diverting where you get emotional satisfaction (and not only) from? You’re not very clear about it in that message, could you do it on a point per point basis, for dummies like me, please?

  8. It is neither. These are exactly the stereotypes I am fighting: Singles are neither alone, constantly horny, nor emotionally unneedy. I have lots of friends who meet various needs of mine. I am not alone, unless I choose solitude. It simply means that I don’t buy into couplemania: That the only way to be happy is if we are in a SEEP-type relationship. It means that I am taking responsibility for my life and my happiness (that’s one reason why I like the term “spinster” despite the negative associations that usually come with it but any term that describes single people comes with negative associations; a spinster is a woman who is spinning her own life-thread).

  9. I’m wondering, what do you mean by being single?
    Single as in.. alone but messing around or single without the need for anyone, as far as sex and emotional needs go?

  10. I would argue that not seeing singlism as discrimination just proves my point: Singlism is so socially accepted that it isn’t even considered “real” discrimination.

    Equating discrimination with violence or even requiring the presence of violence to consider something discrimination seems dangerous to me. There is a lot of insidious discrimination out there that is not violent – in fact most of the implicit biases would fall into that category.

    Please note also that I am not saying at all that singlism is worse then some other form of discrimination. I am simply saying that studying singlism might be a way of learning more about other forms of discrimination. Ultimately, this would hopefully help us fight all forms of discrimination/stigmatization/prejudice better.

  11. I’d point out that different groups have different definitions of discrimination. For example, I’ve heard gays say that singlism really can’t be considered discrimination. Perhaps because gays experience violence, they don’t see something as discrimination unless it involves violence.

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