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Panel challenges view of single life

Rebecca Bravo
Staff Writer

A panel of three speakers at Scripps College expressed, using a variety of examples, that people don’t need to be traditionally coupled-up to be happy.

The Wednesday event “Being Single, Gay Marriage, and In-Between,” looked at relationships and the pressures society places upon them.

“I’m 56, I’ve been single all my life and I love it, except for being singled out,” said Bella DePaulo, the first presenter.

DePaulo explained how society views singles as miserable, lonely and looking for love, when in reality happy singles exist and many choose that lifestyle.

DePaulo said society has the idea that single women will end up living at home with 50 cats. In a recent study, it was found that only one in 50 of these “old maids” was considered a social outcast.

“Our perceptions of what it is like to be single hasn’t caught up with our reality,” DePaulo said.

DePaulo said that there are now 104 million unmarried (single, divorced and widowed) Americans today over the age of 18, and 58.3 million have always been single.

The singles account for about 45 percent of the American adult population and the numbers keep rising.

The second discussion was given by Adriana diBartolo, coordinator of the Queer Resource Center at the Pomona Colleges.

DiBartolo introduced herself to be a “queer divorced lesbian.”

Using her past experience of being in a homosexual marriage, diBartolo conveyed that gays should have the choice to marry but that does not mean homosexuality will become a norm in society.

“I have a lesbian sister who’s legally married and has a daughter. When she walks down the street holding her daughter’s hand and mentions the word wife, people still don’t know how to react to it,” diBartolo said.

DiBartolo stressed the importance of understanding that marriage is more than a fairy tale wedding and relationship between man and woman.

“Looking at kinship, people need to critically think about it to know what marriage means and this can’t happen if we follow the norms,” diBartolo said.

The final lecture was given by University of Southern California professor, Amy Parish.

Parish based her presentation on the scientific view of relationships using a cross-cultural and cross species perspective.

Parish explained how humans are one of 200 primates and that by being homo-sapiens we are inclined to form bonds or relationships but monogamy is a socially-constructed idea.

“There is nothing in our anthropological makeup that says we are monogamous,” Parish said.

Parish explained how marriage can be seen as an institution where women give their husband exclusive sexual rights and women gain access to the male’s income.

Even today women still do not make the same amount of money men do.

More than monogamy, marriage can be seen as exchanging rights and making deals between two people.

After the discussion audience members were invited to ask questions.

“I think it’s interesting that these three themes were all incorporated into this lecture. Being single and gay is now more accepted but the pressure and prejudice still exists,” said audience member Molli Osburn.

Rebecca Bravo can be reached at rebecca.bravo@laverne.edu.

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