Although rates of singledom are increasing in many countries, and singledom is increasingly the norm among adults in certain regions, negative attitudes towards singles persist. Several studies have indicated that the negative stereotypes surrounding singles include the perception singles are generally more miserable, lonely, unfriendly, less warm and empathetic and generally lower in typical socially desired traits compared to partnered individuals. While singles are indeed generally lonelier and more dissatisfied with their relational status compared to non-singles, it appears there is no factual basis for the negative stereotypes surrounding their other personality traits. Research has indicated that singles and non-singles are quite similar when it comes to broad personality traits.
Effects[edit | edit source]
In many countries, more formal forms of discrimination against singles also exist, including lack of access to tax benefits and discounts that apply only to married couples. A powerful example of this kind of legal discrimination against singles (specifically male singles in this instance) may be seen in the various bachelor taxes that were historically levied against single men in certain states to encourage them to marry.
Less formally, negative interpersonal sentiments against singles can be so strong that they can lead to discrimination regarding access to housing and services directed towards singles. For example, research has indicated that single people (controlling for potential confounds such as age, race, sex, etc.) report being more likely to experience condescending attitudes in their day-to-day life and to receive poorer quality service in places like restaurants than non-singles. Other research has indicated that rental agents vastly prefer leasing to married couples than singles. Singlism may also be one of the factors that contribute to married men's higher average salaries compared to non-married men.
Possible explanations[edit | edit source]
A variety of hypotheses have been proposed to explain the persistence of singleism, ranging from evolutionary to sociological explanations. Some claim that singles are discriminated against because humans are naturally biased to attend to reproductively relevant information. Singles may be more likely to be shunned as they are viewed as lower-status or defective in this respect. Another potential evolutionary explanation of discrimination against singles would be mate-choice copying. People (of both sexes) are generally more attentive towards and attracted to opposite-sex others who are already paired up, especially with a desirable partner, creating a bias towards more favorable views of non-singles. Other scholars have pointed to the possible persistence of cultural norms that sanctify and idealize marriage and view pre-marital sexual encounters as shameful as playing a primary role in driving singlism. Essentially, they assert there is a chronological gap between sociological factors that are increasingly making it more attractive and desirable to be single together with the persistence of "pro-marriage ideology" in the broader culture.
Examples and tropes[edit | edit source]
- i know an ugly guy that has a hot girlfriend. he MUST have a great personality!
- i bet that short stumpy guy got a 10 inch penis! LOOK at his girlfriend!
- see, if you had good personality like this ugly dude, you would get laid!
- hmm, a nuclear engineer with no girlfriend, you must be doing something wrong!
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
Further reading[edit | edit source]