The Singles Manifesto
To “promote our freedom” and “become cognizant of our great fortune as singles,” a pioneering figure wrote a singles manifesto
As a single person who cares very much about the place of single people in society, I look longingly at other groups that have mounted successful social movements. Where is our Singles Pride movement?
It turns out that there was such a thing in the US in the 1970s. A person who played a big role in spearheading it was Marie Edwards. She first taught a course on singles at the University of Southern California back in 1971. She became an advocate for fairness for single people, addressed many singles groups and led consciousness-raising workshops for singles.
Her “Singles Manifesto” was published in the Los Angeles Times in 1974. It was also included in her book, co-authored with Eleanor Hoover, The Challenge of Being Single, which was reviewed in prestigious publications such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The article in the LA Times was titled, “A Singles’ Lib Manifesto.” My personal copy is emblazoned with the words “Live Free!” in red on the cover.
The first chapter in The Challenge of Being Single was titled, “How Come You’re Not Married?” Marie Edwards had an answer to that: “I love my single life.” She also mocked the question by quipping that it is the equivalent of being challenged to “prove that you’re not a freak.”
Among the myths Edwards and Hoover described in the book were:
- Finding the one-and-only will solve all of your problems.
- All single women want to get married.
- All single men are afraid of responsibility.
- All unmarrieds are terribly lonely.
- Single life is hazardous because there will be no one around to help you if you are hurt or sick.
What, according to Edwards (and her co-author, Eleanor Hoover), is the end result of all of these stereotypes and myths? Discrimination. Long…