Critique of: Why Single Men May Not Be Having the Most Fun by W. B. Wilcox (who tends to be a marriage idolater and anti-singles bigot)
I would encourage you to take anything this Wilcox guy says with a huge grain of salt, especially if it pertains to singleness.
Wilcox is a huge marriage idolater and is anti-singleness. He has the tendency to write anti-singles editorials in a push to elevate marriage. I’ve written of his anti-singless, singleness fear mongering before (Link): here.
Wilcox seems to feel that if he can scare singles about being single – such as telling us that being single will increase our odds of being raped or getting toe nail fungus or growing a third hand out of our heads – that this will motivate all us singles to run out and marry right away.
Of course, one problem with that view is that there are plenty of singles who do want to marry but are unable to find a partner (see this link as one example, see this link for additional commentary).
These anti-singles marriage idolaters (like Wilcox) just ASSUME all or most singles HATE marriage and are intentionally avoiding it, when such is not the case for all singles.
Guys like Wilcox have this terribly biased view that married life is the only way to go for anyone, that to improve a society or culture, everyone should marry (and marry in their 20s), and live out the 1950s nuclear family Ward and June Cleaver lifestyle, and he (like a lot of my fellow conservatives) is very put off that so many people are opting out of marriage, or just staying single whatever the reason.
So, these marriage idolaters do everything they can to write pages claiming that being single is not as safe, healthy, fun, or wise for individuals or culture as marriage supposedly is.
Articles like this also fail to take into account the “equally yoked” teaching which exists among Christians, a rule which prohibits Christian singles from marrying Non-Christian persons.
The problem with this is that for every single Christian man, there are 55 million single Christian women (no, that’s not an exact figure – it’s my way of saying… There are not enough single males for the single religious ladies who want to marry).
At one point in his article, Wilcox goes on and on about how lonely some single guy is who he discusses as an example of how crummy single life can be for some men.
True, being single can be or feel lonely at times – but so too can being in a marriage.
I was in a long term, serious relationship, and there were times that although I was sitting in the same room as my fiance, I still felt all alone, because the ass hat (my fiance) was not meeting my emotional needs; he did not care to, he was terribly self absorbed. I blogged more about that (Link): here, in this older post if you’d like to read that.
I did a blog post about (Link): women whose husbands developed early dementia – once their husband’s minds “went,” the husbands ceased being being friends and companions to their wives and became large, dependent children.
Having a romantic partner is no guarantee you won’t experience loneliness.
Articles like this one I am linking to you here in this post just perpetuate the notion that there is something “wrong” with being single, or that being single is not “as good” as being married.
I’m not sure if Wilcox is a Christian or not, but I do know that there is nothing in the Bible that says that being married is better than being single, or that everyone being married “cures” society of its problems.
I would not be surprised if singles advocate Bella DePaulo doesn’t, in the future, refute this page by Wilcox in (Link): her column over at Psychology Today – or, you know, it looks like (Link, off site): she’s already refuted the Wilcox page, in a fashion.
Edit (Feb 15, 2016). Ms. DePaulo dropped by and left a comment below. I wanted to edit this post to add a link she left in her comment, and one other one:
- (Link, off site): Single in America: 6 Cutting Edge Perspectives, 2 Others (mentions the Wilcox anti-singles essay in passing)
- (Link, off site): Single Men Are Too Often Marginalized, But Not – I Hope – By Me
This Wilcox piece is singles shaming at its finest – painting singleness as though it’s some mental or physical health problem that needs the cure of marriage. Or, you could say it is a form of ‘singles concern trolling,’ I guess.
Views such as Wilcox’s also suggest that a person cannot or does not become a “whole” person or a mature person unless or until he or she marries – something which the Bible does not endorse at all. A person does not have to marry or become a parent in order to reach maturity or wholeness.
Also note how often Wilcox seems to be stressing people marry in their 20s in his essay – marriage idolaters such as this show no consideration for anyone over 30 or 40 or older who would like to marry but who find themselves single. Marriage-pushers such as Wilcox come across as being very ageist.
(Link): Why Single Men May Not Be Having the Most Fun By W. Bradford Wilcox
Bradford Wilcox is the (Link): director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow of the (Link): Institute for Family Studies. He is the coauthor of “Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos.”
…Oh, the life of the young single man. Pop culture’s depiction of young men’s single years as impossibly fun, footloose and fancy-free has a certain purchase in our culture. It’s one reason why plenty of young men look at marriage as a “ball and chain,” but that mind-set can have a number of downsides.
Disregard for marriage isn’t unique to movies. More sophisticated reflections also tend to minimize the challenges associated with being young and single. In his book “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone,” sociologist Eric Klinenberg stresses that American single men (and women) tend to do just fine.
Compared with marrieds, for instance, (Link): he notes, “single people are more likely to spend time with friends and neighbors, go to restaurants and attend art classes and lectures.” Nothing to worry about here, folks.
….But for all the Marks [single guy living successfully and happily single] out there, there are also men like 26-year-old Anthony, who is floundering in small-town southern Ohio.
As David and Amber Lapp reported in (Link): First Things, Anthony is unmarried, in and out of relationships, and often struggling with drinking and intermittent employment. By their account, “Anthony has thought about suicide in his lowest moments. ‘I just felt so alone.’ ”
But Anthony is not the only young man in America struggling while going it alone. In (Link): a report I co-wrote with Kay Hymowitz, Kelleen Kaye and Jason Carroll on the benefits and costs of delayed marriage, we found that young men in their 20s were more likely to have difficulty with depression and excessive drinking if they were single, compared with their peers who were married. Forty-eight percent of single men ages 24 to 29 reported they were frequently drunk, compared with just 28 percent of their married peers.
….In our desire to understand and normalize the increasing prevalence of single living, we shouldn’t minimize the difficulties that many young men face without the meaning, direction and support offered by marriage. Many young single men would benefit from the kind of community life (Link): extolled by Eve Tushnet.
You can click here if you care to read the rest
(I have edited this post to fix some typing mistakes)
Related Posts, off site:
(Link): Here’s the Article I’ve Always Wanted to Write – What’s Wrong With the Claim That Getting Married Makes You Happier and Healthier
Related Posts, this blog:
(Link): Please Stop Shaming Me for Being Single by J. Vadnal
(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage
(Link): No Surprise There: Bradford Wilcox Deems Married People Better Off During Pandemic Than Single Adults – Rebuttals
(Link): Hey, Justice Kennedy: You don’t need to shame singles to uphold marriage by L. Bonos
(Link): What Happens to Men Who Stay Bachelors Forever, According To Science by L. Vinopal
(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin
(Link): Married People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Spouses With Dementia / Married People Who Are Lonely
(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single
(Link): How the Dating Scene Became Stacked Against Women
(Link): Christian Patriarchalists and Gender Complementarians Sexualizing the Trinity and Insisting Sexual Activity is Necessary to Fully Know God (via Under Much Grace blog)
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Male Christian Researcher Mark Regnerus Believes Single Christian Women Should Marry Male Christian Porn Addicts – another Christian betrayal of sexual ethics and more evidence of Christians who do make an idol out of marriage
(Link): Are Single Women – and specifically Never Married Women – More Likely To Be Victims of Abuse? Rebuttals to this view (advanced by W B Wilcox)
(Link): Woman Marries First Time at Age 50 – A 700 Club Episode
(Link): Woman’s First Marriage at Age 40+
(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40
(Link): The Stupid Advice We Give To Single Women Over 40 (from the Current Conscience Blog)
(Link): First Time Marriage for Man and Woman Both Over Age 40
(Link): Never-Married Men Over 40: Date-able or Debate-able?
(Link): Stop Telling Women Their Most Valuable Asset Is Their Youth (From Time)
(Link): Salvation By Marriage Alone – The Over Emphasis Upon Marriage by Conservative Christians Evangelicals Southern Baptists
(Link): The Holy Spirit Sanctifies a Person Not A Spouse – Weekly Christian Marriage Advice Column Pokes Holes in Christian Stereotype that Marriage Automatically Sanctifies People
(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers
(Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy
(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One
(Link): Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother
(Link): Singles Advocate DePaulo Responds to Right Wing, Conservative Critics of Singlehood, Who Blame Singles For Breakdown of The Family (reminder: I myself am right wing)
(Link): Thirty Year Old Woman Kills Herself Due to Being Single and Childless – Churches contribute to this by either Ignoring adult singles or shaming them for being single and childless
(Link): More Anti-Singleness Bias From Southern Baptist Al Mohler – Despite the Bible Says It Is Better Not To Marry
5 thoughts on “Critique of: Why Single Men May Not Be Having the Most Fun by W. B. Wilcox (who tends to be a marriage idolater and anti-singles bigot)”
I realize this is an old article, and I see your note about new commenters being moderated. But I wanted to thank you for this warning about Wilcox. He is giving a seminar at a local Catholic church next month (“Men and Marriage: Busting the Ball and Chain Myth”). I was thinking about going, but now that I know his angle about things, I imagine the veins in my head would burst. Being a 50+ single Catholic man who is just now realizing that the Catholic Church glorifies marriage and family out of one side of its mouth… but from the other side, does nothing to support its unmarried members. So his talk isn’t likely to even acknowledge that I exist. Or it will use me as some sort of “worst case” example of a life gone awry.
Thanks for your smart critique of the latest from Brad Wilcox. Thank you for mentioning my work and especially my most recent article in which I discussed the entire series in the Post. I’ve collected some of what I wrote about single men here, http://belladepaulo.com/2013/09/single-men-are-too-often-marginalized-but-not-i-hope-by-me/, but I just noticed the list does not include the most relevant articles, namely the ones in which I debunk some of Wilcox’s favorite disparaging claims. I’ll add those later today.
Hello! Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment. I am very honored! I have enjoyed reading your column for years now.
I was just going to update the main post above with some of your newer links, and I’d be happy to add the one from your comment about single men being marginalized.
I am a never-married woman who is in her 40s, but I do sometimes post about these anti-singles hit pieces against single men.
I was brought up in a Christian family and went to churches (of the Southern Baptist variety) quite a bit as a kid.
There are huge, huge problems among Baptists and Protestant evangelical churches and cultures in treating marriage as being the preferred state of being, or of being the healthy norm, while adult singleness is either ignored or treated as failure or second class status.
The Christian community in the last few years has been heavily pushing all Christian teens and 20 somethings to marry young – a view which some have dubbed “early marriage.” The marriage obsessed Christians who have blogs, radio shows, or TV shows, are really advocating early marriage.
If you are an older, never married single such as myself (who had wanted to get married), they either ignore you or blame you for being single (even if it’s not your fault).
Christian adult singles get hit with anti-singles assumptions and views from both within and without the church – though a lot of Christians will CLAIM to support and honor singleness (and celibacy), in practice, they most often do not.
I tried replying to your reply 4 times and got an error message every time. So I’m trying this shorter comment. Maybe we can continue our conversation by email? email@example.com
I apologize for that – I think at this point, you should be able to reply okay. I have my blog set to where all first-time commentators are put on moderated status until their second post is approved to appear (I only do this to cut down on trolls who may want to leave rude posts).
I think now that your second post has been approved, any future replies you leave should go through automatically.
(At least I think the limit is the first two posts, it might be the third??)
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