[Bella’s intro: When rental agents have an option to rent a property to a married couple, a cohabiting couple, or a pair of friends, they favor the married couple very disproportionately, even when the applicants are similar in every other way. That’s what my colleagues and I found in our studies of housing discrimination. When I was doing the research for Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, I learned that there was also a form of housing discrimination against single people in the military, and I wrote about it briefly. Recently, Air Force veteran Dale Nyhus told me about his own research into the topic, which is much more extensive and up-to-date than my previous work. I am grateful to him sharing it here in this guest post.]
“White privilege” and “male privilege” are familiar concepts in our cultural conversations. There is, however, another vast swath of unearned privileges that have gone largely unrecognized, even though they unfairly advantage about half of the adult population in the United States. We’re talking about marital privileges. People who marry enjoy social, cultural, economic, and political advantages that single people do not, simply because they are married.
[Bella’s intro: In Singled Out, I wrote a section called “The Command Team Wears Wedding Bands,” in which I described instances of singlism (stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against singles) in the military. Retired Navy veteran Roger Morris read the book and got in touch, saying that although he agrees that there is some singlism in the Navy, he also thinks there are important ways in which the Navy is a pretty great place to be single. I invited him to share his views and he did so here and here. Then, just recently, another single sailor got in touch with me about his own experiences and views of singlism in the Navy. I invited him to share his perspective, and that’s what you can read in this post. He wishes not to be identified so I’m just calling him “guest blogger.” Thank-you, guest blogger!
When I wrote Singled Out, I was just beginning to learn about singles in the military. Since then, I have learned more about the topic, and now, most recently, about singles in the Foreign Service, thanks mostly to people who have written guest posts. There has also been some research about how singles fare in their post-military days.