I was relooking at all factors with regard to the single women’s help group I wanted to start to support single women in India live a decent life – to empower and scaffold them socially, when they want to pursue their dreams. When I suddenly realized it is not just women, society seems to feel threatened by Singledom itself, as a rule. Even men are not exactly that comfortable, although, compared to women they get along better.
But when it comes to adoption rights, finding a good place to live in, especially in India, it nearly is the same for both men and women: society is suspicious of single people.
Why do they stay single?
Snippets from ten people I interviewed here in India and abroad.
W1 (Gujarat India): I was the only child. My parents were only children too, so there never was an extended family I could look to. So, when my parents died, and I still hadn’t found a suitable match for me, I ended up being alone.
W2 (Kolkata, India): Well, I do not consider me ‘alone’ although yes, I am single. I loved someone, we had a relationship too, only when he went away abroad, it came apart. I could not leave my career behind. I find it difficult to accept anyone else in his place… so…
W3 (USA): I became single and alone when my husband died of a car crash a few years ago. I have a small son to take care of. I will marry if the right one comes along.
W4 (India) : I do not know why am single. (Pause) Maybe because I am dark and fat they never could find a match for me? No, that is a joke. I did not like the men they chose for me. So, I decided to stay single. I know what I want, I love my job, my friends like me, I am happy to be travelling and living on my own terms. I feel powerful (smiles).
W5(Mumbai , India): O I love what I do. I have men friends. I do not feel the need to marry but yes, it would be such a help if someone took care of some things in my life (laughs) – but unless they get something out of it – why will they?
W6 (Pune, India): I didn’t marry so I could take care of my parents. Yes, I do feel lonely,but I do not mind being single. I enjoy my nephews nad nieces and do not miss not having children of my own. As you cna see our business is thriving and am happily single (smiles).
W7 (Gujarat, India): O I had been in an arrnged marriage, he was in a relationship that his family did not approve of so when he confessed we agreed to a mutual divorce nd parted amicbaly. I have been single since then, I am happy the way I am, I do not complain except the singleness does bring in bouts of loneliness, especially when people around you are planning holidays during festive season. If I do find someone that understands me, can be a friend – would marry but otherwise I would rather not. yes, social support would be welcome.
W8 (India): yes, fear of the singles is real. Everytime in a praty I ms smiling or enjoying a hearty conversation with a man friend, I cna sense his wife tensing up. Yes, they even go to the extent of trying to malign you behind your bcak nad spread ugly tales. These are unhappy insecure women. But I have also met wonderful grcaious ldies that have welcomed me into their family circles. I enjoy being the way I am. I do not wish to have children.
W9 (India): I cannot conceive, so I decided not to marry. I like being single. It gives me a chance to do more with my life than if I had to schedule it according to the routine of another few lives (husband, children, in-laws etc). But yes, I have faced problems because of being single, and yes, a support group that helps me with buying selling of property, does not try to take advantage because I am a woman, would be good.
W10 (UK): O I like being single. I am not averse to marriage. But it didn’t happen. I go about life living it till it happens (laughs). In the UK, it isn’t really the system that hurts, no one minds singles – unless you happen to be close to the husband of a married woman that is not too sure of herself. I love my job as corporate trainer, and I travel all the time, so I hardly miss not having a mate as such. Yes, people do make a pass ta you if they know you are single. But it isn’t like it is in India. There is a certain system in place that is designed toprotect the interest of a single woman.
What is significant here is, none of these women are complaining – they definitely are not unhappy. They are perfectly fine being who they are.
Is Single a problem in your culture or country? Gender is a problem, right? Sex of a human too I guess? Why – in what sort of spaces in your country? In what ways do being single, one’s sex, one’s gender become a problem?
Obviously biodesign of humans suggests we were meant to exist in a set of double. But isn’t there some kind ofexistential intelligence that says that humans are allowed to CHOOSE.
Why does society feel threatened by its singles?
Tell me how single people are thought of and treated in your culture. Tell me how single people live in your culture. What are the myths associated with singledom?
Are they looked upon with pity? O, poor thing, not taken! Something must be seriously wrong?
I would like to read literature from around the world about the lives of single people – men or women, especially of course, women.
Yet, the most important question that bothers me is why the fear of the singles?
Currently in my effort to understand the nature of bias and discrimination, I am reading a book called Equal Opportunities and Diversity written by Barbara Bagilhole.
Recommendations on not so pedantic, but thorough studies exploring ‘bias’ generally, and then with regard to the impossible Indian Gender Divide would be welcome 🙂
If there is none, I would be glad to have a collaborator to go on with this.
Before I end this, I would like to share an interesting observation I made while using my toaster this morning. Every single device that has been invented to make life easier in the home and the kitchen happened in the West. Whether it is the washer, grinder, the crusher, the sewing machine or the grill or even the hand held batter beater, it was all done by men in the West.
I guess this itself indicates some level of concern and affection for the woman in that region. There is not a single kitchen device except perhaps the roti maker that India invented. I do feel sad when I think of what this means really.
The West I think is still the best place where individual’s rights and welfare is concerned. We are still far behind. I am so sorry about that.
So I thought it makes better sense to have a SPEG* instead of a SWEG, (*Single Person’s Empowerment Group). That way men and women can together work towards bettering their lives, ensure respect for choices they make as individuals and dignity in their lives. They become stakeholders together in this thing if I look at SPEG as an idea. What is becoming a quest for me now is exploring this strange inexplicable fear of the singles in nearly every society, apparently every culture.
But then my contact with other cultures is through the written word. The internet, I realize can become this wonderful space to share views, exchange facts and information. Do share your view here, if you care🙂
* The links would open in a separate window, so you can continue to read the post plus peruse the articles linked here.
PN : “of the 57 million American women 45 and up, nearly half—25 million—are unmarried (outnumbering entire populations of countries such as North Korea, Taiwan, and Australia)”
PN: “Although 92 percent have a network of friends and family that they can rely on, particularly in a time of crisis, many worry about what might happen to them as they age If they were alone”
PN: Published in India, written in the West, “Latest news, breaking news – Single women prefer dogs to men.”
PN: “A growing number of single women are interested in having a baby through artificial insemination, but are still banned from doing so, according to Chinese”
PN: “14 Jul 2009 … We received reports from various states that single women were not recognized as an independent household. Women also suffer…”
PN: “A global network of single women reveling in life’s magic and feeling truly fulfilled – She started this blog to combat the treatment of singles as second-class citizens. Single-headed homes now tip the scales at 50.3% of the population”
Good useful blog for Singles (American): http://singletude.blogspot.com/
Another one: http://specialktreatment.blogspot.com/
If you care deeply about discrimination based on gender and the marital status of people, if you wish to see the world become a little less acrimonious then do get in touch.
Help me find out more, by naming books, studies, journals that can be accessed online, if you know of organizations that are doing commendable work to reduce stress in single people’s lives, you might send me their link or help me connect to them perhaps? You could use this email: triisha6@gmail dot com