Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Want to Critique This Claim Published in the Atlantic Magazine?

Tell the sociologist and the editor what’s wrong with their published claim.

In the March 2010 issue of the Atlantic magazine, there is a story, How a new jobless era will transform America, by Don Peck. He quotes W. Bradford Wilcox as claiming the following:

"Marriage plays an important role in civilizing men. They work harder, longer, more strategically. They spend less time in bars and more time in church, less with friends and more with kin. And they're happier and healthier." (It is in the section, "Men and family in a jobless age," on p. 3 if you are reading it online, or p. 53 in the print version.)

Of course, my first inclination was to critique this claim here. Then I thought better of it. In my totally unbiased opinion, many Living Single readers are very savvy and they already know what's wrong with this quote. Why not let them take a crack at it?

Here's what I love about the idea of letting readers take over. The person who made this claim, Brad Wilcox, is the Director of the National Marriage Project, has a Ph.D. from Princeton, has published in the media and in professional journals, and won awards. Don Peck, the author who printed this quote, put a period at the end, then went on to the next paragraph, is the deputy managing editor of the prestigious Atlantic magazine.

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I bet not too many of you could claim those kinds of credentials. Yet, you would know what was wrong with the Wilcox claim, and you'd never let it stand without challenge. Show Wilcox and Peck how even someone without their backgrounds can more accurately describe the implications of marrying than they did.

If you'd like to take a shot at this, let me know when you can get something to me (BellaDePaulo [at] gmail.com). Sooner is better. Your critique does not have to be lengthy. I'm happy to post more than one critique as long as you make some good points and back them up.

Have fun!

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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