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September 22, 2011

The way single women in particular are treated in the Christian community has long been a point of contention for me. Pretty much anyone who knows me well has probably heard me rant about it.

This article expands on the idea, and talks about singles (men and women) in society in general, and the way society devalues them. I really resonated with it as I read, and it really gets under my skin that this kind of attitude is so pervasive in our culture.

Some quotes:

About 100 million Americans, nearly half of all adults, are unmarried, according to the Census Bureau — yet they tend to be overlooked by policies that favor married couples, from family-leave laws to lower insurance rates.

[S]ingle people often contribute more to the community — because once people marry, they tend to put their energy and focus into their partners and their own families at the expense of friendships, community ties and extended families.

“It’s not having children that isolates people. It’s marriage.”

The pressure to marry is particularly strong for women. … [R]esearchers conducted 32 interviews with middle-class women in their 30s who felt stigmatized by the fact that they had never married.

“These were very successful women in their careers and their lives, yet almost all of them felt bad about not being married, like they were letting someone down,” said Lawrence Ganong, a chairman of human development and family studies at the University of Missouri.

“If a person is happy being single,” he said, “then we should support that as well.”

[I]n the past single people were often called “deviant,” “neurotic” and “selfish.”

“We do have the tendency to think that there is something special about married people, and that they are the ones who keep community and family going,” she said. “I thought it was important to point out that single people keep our community going, too.”

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