The third week of September in the U.S. is a time to celebrate the role all 92 million unmarried Americans–whether they are widowed, divorced, separated or ‘single’–play in our society. Organizations like Unmarried.org (the Alternatives to Marriage Project) are active in changing current stereotypes and addressing legislation and policies that deny an unmarried individual’s equal rights in terms of healthcare access and taxation.
Bella DePaolo, a UC Santa Barbara psychology professor and Huffington Post blogger, in her book Singled Out, lists these top 10 myths and stereotypes about singles and the policies affecting them:
- Married people know best.
- Single people are single-minded: they are only interested in getting coupled.
- Singles are miserable and lonely and lead tragic lives.
- Singles are self-centered and immature and have nothing to do but play.
- Singles are ‘incomplete’: they don’t have anyone and they don’t have a life.
- Single people grow old alone and will die in a room by themselves.
- Single women find out that their work doesn’t love them. Also, they either don’t get any or they’re promiscuous.
- Single men are horny, irresponsible and slovenly scary criminals. Or they are sexy, fastidious, frivolous and gay.
- The children of single parents are doomed.
- Singles are undervalued. Better to give all the benefits, perks and cash to couples on the basis of supporting family values.
indicates that marriage is not a guarantee of happiness or health (even
though there is a major public campaign to promote lifelong
heterosexual marriage as the key to solving our social problems). On
the contrary, single people are more likely to
foster and maintain intergenerational and community ties and most
singles are happy.