Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Singles in the News: 1/10/10-1/16/10

In this week's "Singles in the News," China and the UK make headlines, as does US legislation that may help or harm singles.


"Sex-themed Paintings Encourage Women to Reconsider Marriage"
By Yang Yang
CRI English
Summary: Chinese artist and single female Yi Yang is making waves with an exhibit entitled "Sheng Nv--Don't Get Married and Enjoy Deceiving Men!" There are over 500,000 single women in China, and Yi thinks that "the essence of marriage for women is slavery." Her objective is to "alert single women to reconsider the meaning of marriage and contemplate what they really want from life," although she also "said she hoped all women could find their true loves in the end." Hmmm. Yi may be injecting some facetiousness into her title, but Singletude hopes she understands the difference between living single and living selfishly (i.e., remaining single with the sole purpose of stringing people along under false pretenses).

"Singles Have Multiple Concerns"
Summary: According to a three-year study of over two million participants, 41.2% of Chinese single women are concerned that they won't find suitable marriage partners. Only 8.1% of Chinese single men said the same. Perhaps the reason for the discrepancy is that 40% of the women said they had "high expectations for future husbands," yet 44% refused to "lower their standards in order to secure a groom." No word on whether the single men had equally great expectations for their potential wives. Approximately half of respondents had had less than two relationships, 40% said they didn't know what it meant to have a "successful date" and wouldn't make a "special effort" for one, and 30% said "they had no idea how to cope with the opposite sex."


"China Might Face Large Number of Single Men by 2020, Report Reveals"
Top News Singapore
By Senthil Kumar
Summary: China's Academy of Social Sciences predicts that by 2020 there will be 24 million more single men than women in China. This is, of course, posed as a problem, and for those who want to get married, it certainly is. But it seems presumptuous to assume that this will be a crisis. China is one of the most populous nations in the world and will no doubt continue to be even if 24 million of its single men don't reproduce. And this slanted coverage doesn't allow for the possibility that not all of those men will want to marry or have children. Some might even be glad not to have that responsibility.

"Healthy Holiday Camps Are the Ideal Place for Single Women to Make Friends and Lose Weight"
Summary: Here's something a little different. FitFarms, a UK weight loss camp, aims to help single women make friends and travel partners while motivating each other to get in shape.

"Women Are Especially Hard Hit by State Budget Cuts, Report Says"
By John M. Guilfoil
The Boston Globe
Summary: Women in Massachusetts, especially single moms, are suffering from "cuts in state funding to programs that provide adult education, employment training, and child care subsidies."


"Opinion: 'Sheng Nv'--Social Boon or Societal Ill?"
By Yang Yang
CRI English
Summary: In the wake of Yi Yang's controversial artwork, this Chinese news station critically examines discrimination confronting the sheng nv, translated literally (not to mention disparagingly) as "leftover woman." Yes, this is the Chinese version of "spinster," and their ranks are growing in China, just as in other industrialized nations. One wonders why, when there are all these unmarried women around, single men in China are said to be so desperate for wives. The article discusses gender stereotyping that villanizes single women while celebrating single men and takes the media to task for promoting unflattering, hurtful labels. In conclusion, the author reasons, "Suppose all women were to abandon their dreams of getting advanced academic degrees to get married, would they automatically live happy lives? So why shouldn't they live a lifestyle that they really want and wait until they meet the right person at the right time?" A runner-up for the Singles With Singletude Award.


"ET Equation Estimates Number of Potential Girlfriends"
By Michael Marshall
Short Sharp Science
Summary: Peter Backus of the University of Warwick in the UK estimates that one's statistical probability of finding a soul mate is 1:285,000 in his controversial work, "Why I Don't Have a Girlfriend: An Application of the Drake Equation to Love in the UK." This article analyzes his theory and suggests some modifications, which may increase prospects for singles who are looking for mates.

"NCL Woos Single Travelers with Epic Studios"
By Jane Archer
Summary: Singles, if you want to go on a cruise, book yours on the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Epic. They just installed over 100 new cabins for solo passengers. And guess what? No dreaded singles supplements! Let's hope this, uh, makes waves throughout the travel industry and gains momentum.

"Rise of the Swofties* (*That's Single Women Over Fifty, Who Like Clubbing, Tweeting, and Exotic Hols)"
By Liz Hull
The Daily Mail
Summary: At last we've moved on from the cougars! Meet the swofties. They're female, over 50, and single, and they like it that way. A British study of 1,000 such women reveals that 50% "are content to be alone," and only 17% are "actively dating." In keeping with their independent lifestyle, swofties also have a sense of adventure. Half of them are choosing to "learn a new skill after reaching 50, with computer courses, a foreign language, cooking and even salsa dancing among the most popular," a quarter of them are working out at the gym, one-fifth are on Facebook and Twitter, and almost one-fifth are traveling abroad. A quarter state that they are "at the happiest time of their adult lives." How nice it is to see an article about older single women that has nothing to do with how "desperate" they are for dates!


Singles With Singletude Award
"Mythbuster: Health Insurance Reform and Marriage Penalty"
American Chronicle
Summary: Last week, the Singleschmucker Award went to a report promoting the myth that the current health care bill includes a marriage penalty. As always, the pro-marriage crowd is upset when it doesn't get special privileges, and for weeks now, their supporters have been trying their hardest to convince everyone that Congress is discriminating against them. Well, finally, here is a logical, accurate counterargument that explains why a married couple would be expected to contribute more to health care than two singles individually: "Under all federal income-related assistance programs, total assistance provided to two single people is greater than the total assistance provided to a married couple for the simple fact that two people living together have lower expenses than two people living separately....[The] Republican myth also ignores all the benefits married couples get under health reform, such as allowing coverage under a spouse's plan, and more affordable rates per person under a family plan than individuals got when they were single." Thank you to the American Chronicle for refuting the pro-marriage agenda's lies and obfuscations at last!

"Programs Help Women Keep Homes"
10TV News
Summary: The Women's Fund of Central Ohio is giving financial aid to single female homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.

Singleschmucker Award
"Same-sex Marriage Pays Off, S.F. Economist Says"
By Bob Egelko
San Francisco Chronicle
Summary: Singletude believes that all people should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. But is expanding an already discriminatory institution a step toward equality? San Francisco's chief economist, Edmund Egan, apparently doesn't care about equality. He's convinced that married people are healthier and wealthier than singles, so he thinks everyone should be married. "'Married individuals are healthier, on average, and behave in healthier ways than single individuals,'" he says. Supposedly among these "healthier ways" are "lower worker absenteeism, greater productivity, higher wages and more payroll taxes...Married people also are less likely to need health care and are more likely than single people or domestic partners to be covered by insurance...He also said lesbians and gays now use 'a disproportionately high level' of drug and alcohol treatment programs, 'and one reason is discrimination.'" The article continues, "Research showing that married people are more likely than singles to accumulate wealth suggests that allowing same-sex marriage would increase spending on consumer goods." It's true that married people do earn higher wages and, therefore, spend more and pay more taxes. But Egan fails to consider that this isn't because marriage magically makes people better workers but because employers are biased toward married employees. Egan doesn't cite any research, so I don't know how accurate his claims are regarding absenteeism and productivity, but it stands to reason that employees who hold positions with higher salaries and greater responsibility would have more motivation to show up and be more productive and more free cash to spend. Married couples also have greater access to health care because only adults in romantic relationships are permitted to give insurance benefits to each other. Whether they use their health benefits less frequently than singles is very debatable; I've never seen any research that came to that conclusion. As for the assertion that LGBTers are driven to drug and alcohol problems because of marital status discrimination, if this is true, then surely it would be a moral crime to continue rewarding married couples at the expense of singles of any sexual orientation. Yet, instead of redressing all these injustices, Egan wants to perpetuate them. Reporter Bob Egelko has the perfect platform to challenge Egan's argument but does not, making this article the winner of this week's Singleschmucker Award.

Do you have thoughts on any of the stories above? (When commenting, please reference the title of the article.)

Want to stay current on changes in the world that impact singles? Read the latest news about singles every day! Check out the Singletude newsreader under Singles in the News on the homepage!

Do you have a question for Clever Elsie about some aspect of the single life? Have an unpublished rant or rave about singlehood? Write in, and you just might see your question in a "Singletude Q&A" or your rant or rave in a "Singletude Sound-off"! Singletude makes every effort to republish submissions in their original form but reserves the right to edit your submission for length and clarity.


Alan said...

I had noted Egan's comment in excerpts of the trial posted on Box Turtle Bulletin. I attempted to address these issues but found the audience not particularly receptive. Disappointing, considering the readers are predominantly gay and you'd think they'd understand discrimination...

The Singlutionary said...

I'm glad those chinese women are refusing to lower their standards to find a mate. If we have a billion something single chinese women, well have a pretty decent critical mass!

And, if I believed in going on cruises, I would totally support the single-cabit/no-single-supplement cruise ship.

Pretty positive week for Singletude!

Clever Elsie said...

Alan: Yes, you'd think so, but I've noticed the same thing. It just goes to show that matrimania isn't limited by sexual orientation!

Singlutionary: Yes, it was a great week! I'm with you--very excited about these changes and hoping for more.