Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Top 10 Odes to Single People

Big-time media sticking up for singles

I talk a lot about singlism here at Living Single. The stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination against singles is relentless, and it is important to point it out and stamp it out. But as I sorted through the stack of bloggable singles stories I’ve been accumulating, I was struck by something else entirely. Increasingly, singles are getting some love and some respect!

Here, I have brought together 10 of my favorite examples of progress in the recognition and celebration of single life that I found by looking back no more than a few months. They are stories that acknowledge what makes single life particularly meaningful. They push back on prejudices and discrimination. They recognize what singles love and value, including solitude, friends, family, and important achievements. They ask single people what they want, rather than assuming they already know. They name names.

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This time, when I acknowledge that I have probably missed plenty of stories that would qualify for this list, I’m proud of that. The all-out, uniform bashing of single people just isn’t so hip anymore.

#1

Happen magazine is featuring an article about 10 advantages of being single. My favorite? “You’re free to pursue the life you want.”

#2

Alternet showcased an article by Chanel Dubofsky, “Why I love being alone.” My favorite quote: “Being alone makes me feel powerful and peaceful. It makes me feel like my brain is a gold mine, and I’m so happy to have this imagination. Being alone has always felt deeply indulgent to me, like a day off  or being able to buy whatever you want.”

#3

The November/December 2012 issue of the AAA magazine, Westways, featured a story, “Going solo: Celebrating the rise of the single traveler.” As part of the celebration, the “Travel Smart” columnists are out to slay the single supplement.

#4

The January/February 2013 issue of Realtor Magazine, with a readership of more than a million real estate professionals, features a story on what singles really want. (OK, so the person they interviewed was me. And that story about looking for an expensive property wasn’t about me – I was telling a story about someone else.)

#5

On the op-ed page of the New York Times, Frank Bruni described his expectations for the future of presidential politics: “We’ve seemingly moved away from conventional and naïve expectations, if we ever really had them, and in the years to come we’ll surely see, on the national stage, more proof of that: candidates without partners, candidates with partners they haven’t wed, candidates with partners of the same sex. And my guess is that many of them will do just fine…”

#6

An Atlantic magazine story musters decades of data to poke some giant holes in the mythology that single-parent families are to blame when murder rates increase.

#7

Over at Slate, Pamela Gwyn Kripke is not just defending against the typical derogation of single mothers and their kids. She makes an affirmative case in her article, “It’s better to be raised by a single mom.”

#8

In an interview about her new memoir, My Beloved World, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was asked about not having kids. In response, she said that “families can be made in other ways and I marvel at the support I’ve derived from friends. In their constant embrace, I have never felt alone.”

#9

A headline at the Huffington Post promised a story about “the best day of my life.” Usually, in a woman’s life, the “best day” is supposed to be her wedding day. In this instance, the story was about Alexandra Pelosi, and she was not talking about a walk down the aisle. Instead, she was referring to her Sundance Film Festival debut.

#10

Another article trumpets “9 famous women who said ‘I don’t’,” complete with photos.

I have already discussed the awesome Atlantic piece put together by the wonder women of Onely, so it is not on today’s list. But Lisa and Christina’s careful validation of singles’ sense of getting screwed economically is a very big deal, and is justly getting all sorts of attention. Now that’s how we push back against singlism!

Please share your favorite validating article about single people that did not make my list.

[Note: Thanks to Elizabeth, Gena, Debby from Vancouver, Jason McMahan, and my friend who keeps me appraised of the latest articles in People magazine. Have I forgotten to acknowledge you? Let me know and I’ll add your name. I never skip anyone on purpose!]

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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