131 of 143 people found the following review helpful
A good case somewhat weakened by new dogma,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (Hardcover)"Singled Out" has some very good information and makes solid points about the subtlty of the constraining aspects of culture that define segments of the culture considered out of the norm, like single people. Where it falls down is in creating its own dogma about coupledom that is strident and seems to want to negate any consideration of merit for partnering.
I wrote my original review when only about halfway through this book. I wanted to update the review with my final impressions, which ended up farther toward the positive end of the scale.
In general, I think DePaulo is onto something very important here, insofar as trying to de-pathologize singlehood and encourage the inclusion of many more definitions of relationship and family than is currently allowed. Not only is society already changed beyond going back, it was never the mythological construct we imagined existed in everyone's house but ours.
I enjoyed the book most where DePaulo shines: in sticking to statistics or an academic presentation of facts that help to demythologize both marriage and the single life. This included findings from scholarly studies and a revealing look at how society interprets in different ways behavior that is similar between singles and couples.
The author is least appealing when repeatedly seeming to sneer at or dismiss intimate bonds between couples entirely. One case made for the immaturity of people who marry was facile, denigrating, and two-dimensional. It's not that she didn't present some valid points to consider but it was hard for me as a reader to get beyond what seemed like a fair amount of anger towards the very idea of coupledom.
DePaulo rightly deplores singles being portrayed as cardboard figures with only one thing on their mind: marriage. Then she turns around and portrays most coupling-type folk as cardboard figures with only one thing on their mind. She seems to take the stance that she's accusing society of bestowing upon marrieds by making singlehood the morally superior path.
What I like is that her discussion rejects the pathology of singlehood. What I don't like is a lack of consideration that intimate pairing may have emotional rewards and benefits that are legitimate, even if not being superior to the emotional lives of singles.
What's missing for me is a discussion of intimacy. Whether a person is single or married, deep attachment and emotional intimacy seems closely tied to emotional health as determined by a number of measures. It's unclear to me where this fits into the broader discussion of DePaulo's topic.
I'm very happy that this book seeks to eliminate the bias against singles and to demythologize marriage. I thought I had already left many of the myths of "The One" behind but this book made me more aware of the subtle markers that culture leaves on our psyches in regards to single status. I can honestly sense a shift in my own thinking about this issue, and that, I appreciate.
Tracked by 1 customer
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 31, 2007 9:21:22 AM PDT
Rachel A. Buddeberg says:
Check out E. Kay Trimberger's "New Single Woman" for excellent examples of intimacy in single women's lives. I think Trimberger's examples point to both our need for deep attachments and our ability to form these outside of marriage/relationships. Imo, what both DePaulo and Trimberger argue for is to look beyond the societal assumption that all (!) of our needs can be met by one other person (what DePaulo calls matrimania). Trimberger gives examples of single women doing that successfully.
Posted on Nov 14, 2007 10:01:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2007 7:48:07 AM PST
Posted on Nov 29, 2007 11:23:53 AM PST
william wellisch says:
I thought that this was a particularly mature and thoughtful review. Offering both the strengths and weaknesses of the book in a considerate way made reading this well worthwhile.
I particularly was attracted to the concept of "de-pathologize" which adds a dimension to the concept of "de-stigmatize".
Kudos to the reviewer.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2008 10:38:55 AM PST
Ann Droid says:
I agree that it was a thoughtful and balanced review. After all, that's what a review is for--to give a potential reader the positives and negatives from the reviewer's perspective. A review need not be all positive to be informative.
Posted on Dec 8, 2011 1:19:15 PM PST
R. Garcia says:
Yes, as long as singles are still paired up anyway, for the sake of holy intimacy.:P
Posted on Aug 29, 2013 6:04:05 AM PDT
D. A. Dimopoulos says:
I must take just a bit of time to address this segment of the comment: "What I like is that her discussion rejects the pathology of singlehood. What I don't like is a lack of consideration that intimate pairing may have emotional rewards and benefits that are legitimate, even if not being superior to the emotional lives of singles."
I never understand why "paired up" people need to validate their way of life when the subject of the book has nothing to do with it. If the sentiment of the statement that singles have no "intimate pairings" means they have no intimacy in their life, they are most likely sorely mistaken and speak without a foundation in fact. Unless of course, they themselves have experienced such a thing (which I highly doubt, given the need to state "even if not being superior to the emotional lives of singles"). Like those of religious faith that speak of the emptiness of the lives of Atheists, the need to validate one's own beliefs when the thought of another being happy without needing those crutches/beliefs/dogmas is what resounds most loudly after their opinions have been stated.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›