Saturday, January 10, 2009

Are you reading Bella DePaulo?

If you are single, whether you are happy about that status or not, you should be. DePaulo, the author of Singled Out, is simply really good. In a recent post, she methodically dissects the singlism in a recent study about how singles are no more likely than coupled people to have "issues with attachment". What I love about her work is that she is so careful to avoid the same kind of bias that she is critiquing in others; for example, she often makes a point to say that she is not suggesting that all single people are happy, have full lives, or whatever else people are saying they aren't. She's just trying to get people to see the biases and flaws in so many of the 'studies' often touted as claiming marrieds are better in some way than singles.

What I find interesting is that she has gotten slammed by some commenters as being 'extreme'. And I'll admit that there have been times when I'm reading her blog and I think maybe she's reading more into something than is really there. But then she also comes up with posts like this one, where the examples of singlism are so acute (and obvious) that I just want to scream. And that makes me wonder - those times when I am resistant to the idea that singlism is rampant, is it because I buy into it myself? Or because I want to believe it isn't there? And do I only think DePaulo is biased because it's so weird to have someone point out singlism? That's why I think DePaulo is so good, because she makes me ask those questions.


Nicky said...

I'm a fellow fan of Bella's work, and the director of the Alternatives to Marriage Project ( I'm delighted to find a quirky economist! Would you be interested in helping AtMP develop economic arguments for taking marital and relationship status out of public policy?

Jenn said...

Hi Nicky! Not sure exactly what you mean by 'economic arguments' but I'd love to talk about it. Feel free to contact me directly at smartchica47 at gmail dot com.