[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.]
Unlike other isms that are more widely recognized, singlism (the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against single people) is not on most people’s radar. What’s more, if they do hear about it, they often deny it or minimize it or lash out at the people who point to it. What’s going on? Here are some of the blog posts I’ve written about this. The book, Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It, is relevant, too.
For many single people, home is where their heart is. Here’s what we know about single people buying homes, getting discriminated against in the housing market, and finding and creating interesting ways of living.
Unmarried Equality members have probably noticed lots of ways in which single people are not treated fairly by businesses and other groups and organizations. Let’s do more than just rolling our eyes or venting among ourselves. Let’s call them out.
Almost all singles have experienced it, being discriminated because you are not married. It is everywhere, from the media, advertisements, your workplace, even your friends and family. You know what they are thinking “Aw, poor thing cannot even find a husband/wife. There must be something wrong with her/him.” And how many times do you have to hear your mother or father say, “When are you going to get married and give me some grandchildren?” Why? What is wrong with choosing to be single? Not everyone wants to be married. Nothing wrong with that at all.
According to the prevailing cultural narratives, single people in later life have two big things going against them: They are single and they are old. Now focus on the older single women and you have the trifecta: They are single, they are old, and they are women! If conventional wisdom got its way, they would be doing terribly. But guess what? They are not. There are real challenges, for women and men, to aging in an ageist and singlist society. Considering what they are up against, it is remarkable how well older single people are doing.