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Single Living

In honor of National Single & Unmarried Americans Week (did you know?), New York Times columnist Tara Parker-Pope blogged about discrimination against singles, which psychologist professor Bella DePaulo considers one of the last accepted prejudices. She’s given it a term, which is the title of DePaulo’s new book: “Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters And How To Stop It.”

An example DePaulo cites: the Family and Medical Leave Act. Parker-Pope writes:

Because [DePaulo] is single and has no children, nobody in her life can take time off under the law to care for her if she becomes ill. Nor does it require that she be given time off to care for a sibling, nephew or close friend.

Stephanie Coontz, director of research for the Council on Contemporary Families, echoes DePaulo’s assertions, noting that policy makers often neglect the needs of single people. In the past, singles have been described as “deviant,” “neurotic,” and “selfish,” Coontz points out.

What do you think, CatholicMatchers? Have you encountered discrimination because you are single?

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9 Comments

  1. Tony-705734 September 22, 2011

    I don’t know what it’s like there in New York, but here in Michigan you can get FMLA for a parent, child, or a sibling. You can also get it for yourself if you need to. But, I do understand the meaning behind this in that if you don’t have anyone close then that would be an issue.

  2. Patrick-606389 September 23, 2011

    Singles are perhaps the most overworked population. There is little or no pressure to be home if one does not have children or a spouse. Now any discrimination I have experienced as a single, I considered, paying my dues. But the past ten years have taught me. Cliche’ though it may be. ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ and my volunteer days are gone — I hope forever.

    I am happily now a selfish single person. And likely to remain so until I get married. I wonder the singles population is in the military, peace corps, or any number of volunteer organizations? And in education — I think that goes without saying.

  3. Patrick-606389 September 23, 2011

    Singles are perhaps the most overworked population. There is little or no pressure to be home if one does not have children or a spouse. Now any discrimination I have experienced as a single, I considered, paying my dues. But the past ten years have taught me. Cliche’ though it may be. ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ and my volunteer days are gone — I hope forever.

    I am happily now a selfish single person. And likely to remain so until I get married. I wonder what the singles population is in the military, peace corps, or any number of volunteer organizations? And in education — I think that goes without saying.

  4. Maria-689654 September 23, 2011

    I’m not single single but if we look at any company policy in many small to medium companies. Family leave in general is frowned upon. I’m a single mother of an autistic child with multiple handicaps and he had many “event” where I needed to be out whether on sick leave for child or family leave for sick child. They tolerated it but it was always brought to my aattention that I was taking too many days off ( I had accrued time). And it is not just the single people but also fathers have been denied family leave. Management will usually ask: “Why doesn’t your wife deal with it?” usually in the case of sick children; often even when the child is terminally ill and at brink of death. These companies don’t seem to care; many have lost their jobs because they chose to care for a loved over losing a job. Family leave needs to be applied across the board.

    • Tony-705734 September 24, 2011

      Maria, I don’t know where you are at, but here in the “Rust Belt” FMLA gets approved, or there are matters of going to court over it. I don’t know if that is an option for you, or if you are part of a union where you can use it’s legal aid. But if you do get it, be careful since some company will take away vacation time and paid personal days as a way to use them up first before you can use the time off without getting penalized. Usually fathers can get it for new borns, since the father is the one that is taking care of the wife and the child/children at that time. I would also say you need to talk to your doctor when getting the paper work filled out, since it will be his word that your HR person is will be taking into consideration for approval or denial.

      that being said, however, it also has to be stated that there are those that abuse the FMLA system to. And that may be why some companies want to hold back on allowing it. It’s a shame, but it has come down to loosing money and/or business, or not when it comes to FMLA

  5. James-233916 September 24, 2011

    I’m sorry, but I thought the entire NYT blog entry was horrendous, as exemplified by this quote:

    “‘It’s the unmarried, with or without kids, who are more likely to take care of other people,’ Dr. Gerstel said. ‘It’s not having children that isolates people. It’s marriage.’”

    So marriage isolates people? Has it ever occurred to the author that maybe focusing the majority of your energies and attention on the person you have committed your life to is a GOOD thing? Is she actually advocating for people to have children out of wedlock, as it sounds like she is?

    The whole post reads like a sales pitch to convince people not to get married. We don’t need such articles in a society where marriage is ever more under attack.

  6. Michael-253501 September 27, 2011

    I agree with you, James. I have now read a number of articles/blog entries from this author (Christina Ries) that have strong, secular, anti-Catholic undertones. It is surprising to see this type of material being propagated by a Catholic author on a Catholic dating site.

  7. Ryan-414583 September 27, 2011

    Discrimination is not always unjust. In fact, many times it is fair. I do think you have to keep a balance between privileges for marriage and non-privileges for singlehood though. The tax code comes to mind for “keeping the balance.” I think there should be tax advantages to marrying (or staying married), but elected officials should still take into consideration the added tax burden placed on singles.

  8. Andy-516957 May 19, 2013

    At work as a mariner, preference is given to married men, and singles are second-class citizens. I have worked with very few single senior officers and the only three I could think of off hand were single women. The culture on some ships is actually very positive towards marriage and stability.

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