Like many people, I watch the increasingly popular "Real Housewives of New York" series on Bravo. I can't claim any educational value; it's a reality show about wealthy people and their catfights. It can be pretty amusing.
Anyway, they often put a single woman on the show among the housewives. With the New York Housewives, that woman was Bethenny. Bethenny was funny, successful, pretty, and...single in her late 30s. Whenever another housewife was in a fight with her, and they wanted to insult her, they could point to the fact that she was alone as some sort of failing. She agreed on the show that being alone makes her vulnerable to all sorts of insults.
I think it's unfair that that's the case. Recently, in my town, we had a mayoral election. Some of the activists who were single women are often derided on local message boards for speaking their mind. This is one comment that was posted today about a female activist who speaks at council meetings:
"I have a personal question for you are you always this inept? Do you always find you fail at everything you do. For example no boyfriend or for that matter a girlfriend. your charming personality made you miss the boat with both sexes.
Why are you so lonely is it because of your weight? Personality or lack thereof? Your looks?
I really feel sorry for you it must be very lonely having so much animosity burning inside you and so much animosity directed against you.
Do you think a therapist might be helpful?"
End of post.
Well...would they direct this kind of insult against a single man? Doubtful. But a woman being single, plus the ever-popular weight problems, which are always good for some extra unfair jabs...that's something that can easily be used it you want to stop someone from speaking out.
There are lots of reasons people may be single. There are the obvious - just haven't met the right person yet, some failed relationships, just ended a long-term relationship, or for all you know, their fiancee died on 9/11. How would you know? People shouldn't criticize a woman who speaks out by pointing out her single status. But that's just how people judge in society. Especially about women. Their choices are so often judged.
Then again, about 10 years ago, there was a very outspoken female activist in town who was married with three kids. Some guy would post on the message boards saying she should stop causing trouble and pay more attention to her kids. Well, they never say that about male politicians or activists, do they?!