Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Celebrate: National Unmarried and Single Americans Week

Apparently it’s National Unmarried and Single Americans Week.  It’s also National Child Passenger Safety Week.  Weird, huh?  Who comes up with these celebratory weeks?  Every week is something more and more random.  Anyway, I suppose I should be celebrating because I’m both unmarried and single!  Double the celebration, right?  Time to raise the roof and rub it in to my married and dating friends’ faces.  Boo Ya!

I’m always bitching about how you are constantly overcharged when you are “uncoupled.”  For example, a couple weeks ago I skipped my neighborhood’s block party because the cost was:  $15 for singles, $20 for couples, and $30 for families.  Let’s do the math.  A couple gets to go for $10 apiece, a family of three for $10 apiece, a family of four for $7.50 apiece, a family of five for $6 apiece…etc.  Now, this was a block party with a big old red, blue, and yellow moonwalk puffy thing for the kids, food, and other block party stuff.  Would I as a single person eat $15 worth of food?  (No.  Unless it was pizza.)  Do I get to play on the moonwalk?  (I doubt it.)  Do I want my face painted?  (No.)  Does the $15 include booze?  (No.)  The people who get the most out of these block parties are the families and people with kids.  There are plenty of “kid” activities.  So why do they get off so cheap and I have to carry the load?  Eh, anyway, I didn’t go.  I wasn’t all torn up about it, and really didn’t want to go anyway, but when I saw the usual “singles get screwed” pricing, that solidified my decision.

Anyway,  I came across a couple of articles regarding National Unmarried and Single Americans week – one that was worth quoting here, and the other that left me scratching my head.  The first is from the New York Times blog, and discusses more of the biases against the singles of the world – one I hadn’t even thought about regarding the FMLA:
Bella DePaulo, a visiting professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has a term for discrimination against single people, which she calls one of the last accepted prejudices. It is the title of her new book, “Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters and How to Stop It.”
As an example, Dr. DePaulo cites the Family and Medical Leave Act. Because she 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.
This is disturbing.  What if something happens to me?  What if something happens to one of my siblings?  My siblings and nieces and nephews ARE my family.  I think they need to change the name of the FMLA to the Spouses and Children Medical Leave Act, because that is who it is for.  I’ll just add this one to the list of ways I'm discrimianted against, along with my social security that will go to waste if I die before I’m old enough to receive it.  However, the bonus to this article is that it also tells us how we are better than the marrieds, which is a rare and wonderful discussion:
[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 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.”
The unmarried also tend to be more connected with siblings, nieces and nephews. And while married people have high rates of volunteerism when it comes to taking part in their children’s activities, unmarried people often are more connected to the community as a whole. About 1 in 5 unmarried people take part in volunteer work like teaching, coaching other people’s children, raising money for charities and distributing or serving food.
Unmarried people are more likely to visit with neighbors. And never-married women are more likely than married women to sign petitions and go to political gatherings, according to Dr. Gerstel.
Hurray for us!  But then there is this article from the Huffington Post, which is frankly…bizarre.  It’s by Page Gardner, who is the founder of Women’s Voices, Women Vote (which I’ve never heard of until today.)  While it starts out with some interesting statistics on the unmarried, it rapidly devolves into the usual liberal rhetoric, culminating with this:
Finally, many state governments have failed to encourage or make it easy for unmarried women to participate in our democracy. Right now close to 40 percent of unmarried women are not registered to vote and even though unmarried women make up 25 percent of the voting- eligible population, they only make up 23 percent of the electorate. Why the gap? Some of it is because these women think politics have no relevance to their lives, but too many unmarried women also encounter structural obstacles - they don't know if they are qualified to register, don't know where or how to register, or when the deadlines are -that keep them from registering.
I don’t understand this.  It is a structural obstacle that an unmarried woman doesn’t know if she is qualified to register?  It is a structural obstacle if an unmarried woman doesn’t know where or how to register or when the deadlines are?  Are unmarried women that much dumber than the rest of the population?  In the weeks leading up to election time, I regularly see people sitting at tables outside the trains and the Targets and the Dominick’s asking people if they want to register to vote.  I also got a form in the mail when I moved, telling me to register to vote.  I also got asked when I renewed my driver’s license.  I also have access to this really awesome invention called Google.  Also, around election time MTV Rock the Vote is all over the place, along with other commercials.  I also hear commercials on the radio about registering to vote.  In fact, I don’t know how it could be easier to register to vote or find out if you are eligible unless someone came to your house and did it for you, and who is going to pay for that? 

Here’s another one:
But instead of making it easier, many states are imposing new voter identification requirements that make the process unfairly complicated. The most common new requirement, that citizens obtain and display an unexpired government-issued photo identification before being allowed to vote, was advanced in 35 states in 2011 and passed in 11 others.

Those bastards.  You need a government issued photo identification to get on a plane in this country, to drive a car, buy liquor, buy cigarettes, sometimes to pay by credit card, to cash a check, and countless other things, but I can see why it is such a structural obstacle to require someone to have some form of photo identification to vote.

To be honest, if someone can’t figure out how to register to vote, I’m not sure they should be voting at all.    


  1. Oh, but you see, those unmarried women don't have a big strong man to tell them how to vote. So they just sit there, fluttering their hands about saying, "Fiddle-dee-dee."