As you might know firsthand, it ain’t pretty.
Today at the Atlantic, Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell, (who run Onely, which I just found out about and I love!) break down the costs of being a single woman, compared to that of a married woman. The article says that unmarried women pay as much as a million dollars more than their married counterparts for taxes, healthcare and more.
Bella DePaulo, author of Singlism and singles expert and I agree that if someone had told me the cost of being a single woman compared to a married one was this high, I would have thought it was too much.
Which is incredible and not at all surprising, but sad. Because it’s one thing to think that singles are deformed in some way if they’re not in relationships past the age of 21, but it’s quite another to have had those opinions legislated into the tax code and Social Security laws of our nation – and a nation that supposedly loves individualism at that!
Lest one think that legalizing same sex marriage would solve the problem, Arnold and Campbell point out that it would only be a solution for a few:
U.S. Federal Code Title 5 Part III says: The President may prescribe rules which shall prohibit… discrimination because of marital status. Yet more than 1,000 laws provide overt legal or financial benefits to married couples. Marital privileging marginalizes the 50 percent of Americans who are single. The U.S. government is the main perpetrator, but private companies follow its lead. Thus marital privilege pervades nearly every facet of our lives. Insurance policies—ranging from health, to life, to home, to car—cost more, on average, for unmarried people compared to those who are married. It is not a federal crime for landlords to discriminate against potential renters based on their marital status. And so on.
What I love is about this is that it is objective data and reporting, not subjective storytelling about single life. Arnold and Campbell make the point that marriage is promoted as a social good, despite the fact that Dr. DePaulo and others have made the case that there is little difference qualitatively in terms of health or families that there is much difference between the lives of singles and married folks.
The other important point that they raise here, among many others is that with subjective writing – this blog, my book and other relationship/dating blogs – there is often the sense that we are just bitter. (I have heard that word leveled against me and this blog more than once, actually.) But I love how they put this:
“As two straight women with no desire to get married, we are not against marriage per se. We’re not callous and repressed man-haters. We’re not bitter about ex-boyfriends who cheated or tried to teach us the correct way to pour laundry detergent (ok, well maybe a little bitter about that last one). We’re not even necessarily uncomfortable with the institution’s arguable gender expectations and socio-political history. We just don’t much care whether we’re married, or not. But governments and corporations do.”
If you drink, you might want to get out the good liquor for this one. Not to spoil the ending, but it is a sobering and sad bit of news. It’s ironic, too, because I was just starting to think about my taxes again and the cost of being a self-employed single writer. Oh, look, it’s already wine-o’clock…