When I first focused on the study of singles and singlism, I was a tenured full professor at a major university and I thought I would continue to be a full-time academic until the day I retired — which I assumed would be decades into the future. That was in the late 1990s. I never would have guessed that by the year 2000, my planned one-year sabbatical would turn into something else entirely.
Recently, my friend and colleague Wendy Morris sent me the picture of this billboard. (In case the words are hard to see, it says, “Married people earn more money.”) Wendy is a terrific singles scholar and she is providing guidance to the next generation of researchers. One of her students, Kate Maloney, first noticed the billboard. (Thanks, Kate and Wendy!) Kate was offended by the crass message that people should marry for money. Wendy objected to the discrimination that factors into married people’s greater haul.
This “All Things Single (and More)” blog is still fairly new, and so I see it as a place that, for now, is mostly read by what I think of as an inner circle of people. Of course, I don’t know everyone who is reading this, but I do recognize the names used by many of the people who post comments. Some have participated in conversations at Living Single. Sometimes I hear from readers by email as well. I hope that the readership will grow over time, but for now, I’m kind of enjoying the more personal feel of this blog.
With that in mind, I thought we might discuss the recent (and perhaps ongoing) kerfuffle over at Living Single. My post about Helen, who presumed to know what singles want ‘deep down inside,’ has sparked a bit of a flame war. Helen has weighed in (I deliberately sent her the link, so she could speak for herself if she so desired), and she is none too pleased.
In my writing about singles, I’ve often pointed to the big ways that singles are targets of discrimination. Singles are discriminated against in the housing market, in ways that are blatant and yet not recognized as wrong. They pay more than their share in taxes. Single men are paid less than comparably-accomplished married men, and both single men and single women have less access to benefits such as health insurance. That’s unequal compensation for the same work. There are more than 1,000 federal laws that benefit married people. And that’s just the beginning. (Other examples are in Chapter 12 of Singled Out.)
In Oklahoma, the Republican candidate for governor is telling the people of that state that they should vote for her instead of her opponent because she is a wife and mother. Seriously.
At a campaign rally a few days ago, South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint proclaimed that single women who are sleeping with their boyfriend should be banned from classroom teaching. It is a position he has been championing since at least 2004.