Singlism: How Serious Is It, Really? by B. DePaulo

Singlism: How Serious Is It, Really? by B. DePaulo

(Link): Singlism: How Serious Is It, Really?


….This time, the person [arguing with DePaulo] argued that singlism — stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single — does not even exist.

A different version of the objection concedes that there are ways in which single people are viewed and treated more negatively than married people, but insists that those instances are so inconsequential that they should simply be ignored.

After all, there are other “isms” that are far more serious than singlism.

Singlism can be financially devastating.

In part because of laws, policies, and practices that favor married people and couples over single people, the costs of living single can be staggering.

For example, married people, with all their opportunities to draw from their spouse’s benefits, can get far more out of Social Security than single people do. Housing costs, health costs, and taxes are higher for single people.

According to one estimate, just those four categories alone can cost single women, over the course of their working lives, over a million dollars more than what married women pay.

Singlism can be deadly.

Because singlism typically leaves single people less financially secure than married people, they sometimes cannot afford health insurance, or the same quality of insurance or care, as married people.

Single people also have less access to health insurance than married people, who can sometimes be covered under a spouse’s plan offered by an employer.

Lack of access to health care, or access only to lower-quality care, can of course cut years off people’s lives and compromise their health in the years they do have.

But even when single people have great health insurance and access to the finest doctors, they still do not always get the finest care. A single woman told this story:

     “When I was 25, I was suffering from severe menstrual problems . . . to the point where I asked for a hysterectomy. I was refused because I was single and “might want to have kids someday.” So I suffered . . . for 20 more years.”

In her book, Doing Harm, Maya Dusenbery told the story of a Latina woman with breast cancer “who wanted a mastectomy but whose doctor objected, saying, ‘But you aren’t married.’”

Singlism can be dangerous.

Do men respect single women’s bodies and their dignity less than married women’s? In the workplace, both single and married women experience sexual harassment, but single women experience it more.

In a 2017 Suffolk University survey, 42 percent of women who had always been single said that a co-worker had made unwanted sexual advances, compared to 30 percent of married women.

...Singlism steals single people’s time and their choices.

In some workplaces, single people are expected to stay later or cover weekends, holidays, vacation times, or travel assignments that no one else wants, on the singlist assumption that they don’t have anyone, and they don’t have a life.

When it comes to relocating employees or laying them off, employers sometimes look first to single people, not recognizing that many have roots where they are and do not have a spouse’s income to fall back on if they lose theirs.

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