[This article is co-authored – in alphabetical order – by Lisa Arnold, Rachel Buddeberg, Christina Campbell, and Bella DePaulo. We are cross-posting it on all of our blogs.]
"White privilege" and "male privilege" are familiar concepts in our cultural conversations. There is, however, another vast swath of unearned privileges that have gone largely unrecognized, even though they unfairly advantage about half of the adult population in the United States. We're talking about marital privileges. People who marry enjoy social, cultural, economic, and political advantages that single people do not, simply because they are married.
When it comes to keeping single people in their place, marital privilege is just the half of it. The other half is singlism, the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single. Singlism is not as vicious as some of the other isms such as racism or heterosexism. No one has been dragged to their death, or assigned to separate drinking fountains, just because they are single. Still, the boxed set of marital privilege and singlism touches so many aspects of single people's lives that it simply cannot be dismissed. Over the course of a lifetime, the unfair treatment adds up.
If you are still skeptical, try this thought experiment: Imagine that all of the examples were flipped, such that single people got all the privileges and married people were the targets of all of the stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination. Would that be okay?
Check Your Marital Privilege
Do any of these circumstances apply to you? Check Your Marital Privilege. (For bonus points, check your Coupling Privilege; unmarried but socially coupled people also reap some of these benefits):
[An earlier version of our argument, "Do you, married person, take these unearned privileges, for better or for better?," by Bella DePaulo and Rachel Buddeberg, appeared in Truthout. Copyright,Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission. Also see Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell's writing at Onely. The image is from Google images, available for reuse.]