There’s an episode (one of the many) of the British comedy Goodness Gracious Me, which pokes fun of the Indian culture of viewing single women with scorn. It’s all very dramatic, the married women gasp when the spinster enters the room. The married men gawk since the spinster is viewed as someone who is promiscuous and sexually adventurous. Although it’s meant to be a parody and is very much a hyperbole, it is a common social truth that in many cultures a single unmarried woman is viewed with contempt.
Before I continue it should be noted that the term single refers to the legal standpoint of being single that is unmarried.
Why is it that in so many cultures marriage is viewed with dazzling eyes and seen as an ultimate prize? Why is it that when a woman is unmarried she is viewed as incomplete? Is being a woman insufficient? Do women not command respect, power and authority? Even when a woman has gained specific societal markers of success – educated, financially stable, owns assets, refined etiquette – she is still viewed as lacking if she is unmarried.
Social theory on the family expresses that without the family, society will not be able to continue and the human race will cease to exist.
BUT there are so many single mothers out there and they do a pretty good job. However single parenthood is emotionally, physically and financially tasking.
Hmmm, now I am in a quandary – do I or do I not have a problem with other people viewing being single as a plague.
A base analysis of married versus being unmarried.
Pro: Getting laid often.
Sex is a physical need. Having a partner to fill that need is a plus. However a person could always opt for shagging around, with that comes a few teeny tiny – well massive problems; Chlamydia, HIV, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and others. Of course there is the gender discrimination which exists and there is a possibility of being socially tarnished and labelled a SLUT.
Con: You can also have frequent intercourse in a long term relationship whilst remaining unmarried.
Pro: Financial Stability.
A problem shared is a problem halved (cliché but appropriate). Pooling financial resources can ensure that both individuals attain financial progress.
Con: Marriage does not ensure financial stability. There are so many relationships which have unhealthy financial dynamics. One person pays the bills, the other gambles away their money or spends frivolously – have a look at Till debt do us part. So it’s not a definite.
It’s nice to have a friend all the time, someone to share the good, the bad and the ugly with. Hiking, food shopping, taking the recycle out – let’s do it together.
Con: Here comes the ‘but’ – unless you are in a healthy relationship where tasks are shared, where your partner is your partner that is an equal in the relationship and the relationship is not parent-child. Then there is no guarantee you will have a companion. One person can be working longer hours, or be in an extramarital affair and then they’re never at home anyway.
Makes you think about the merits of being unmarried: freedom, independence, the opportunity to gain self- actualisation, no high cost of divorce if the relationship fails.
The attempt to apply logic to the contempt of the single has been futile. It seems to me that rather than focusing on a legal status; married, single… that there ought to be focus on maintaining healthy relationships.