Examination of the dominant discourses surrounding individuals whose status is single.
Discourse supports certain ideas within society, and enhances the moral superiority of different aspects in one’s life (Van Dijk, 2006). It helps to shape the social world, and in particular strongly shapes society’s view on males and females whose status is single (Elder-Vass, 2011). It does not necessarily imply that society altogether manipulates ones certain view on singles; however it structures ones interpretation of the situation (Van Dijk, 2006). In the case of every individual, discourse helps structure the idea that one’s life should involve finding a partner and those that do not are said to live incomplete lives (Budgeon, 2008). This essay will break down the dominant discourses surrounding singles; as well as uncover certain media and literature that creates society’s negative associations with singles. (Reynolds & Taylor, 2005; Gordon, 2003) There is no simple solution to this discourse; however one must approach all aspects in society that contribute to the intervention of such stigma and must be relevant to the context of the situation.
Firstly, the term single refers to both males and females who are not in a relationship, never been in a relationship, never married, chaste, widowed, divorced, childless, or a single parent (Reynolds & Taylor, 2005). It also refers to those in the age group of teenagers to 80 year olds within the Australian culture. Society structures anyone within this age group, to believe that it is a social expectation to find love, marry and have children, and that one should have the desire for this or a concern when it is not achieved (Spielmann et al., 2013). This shows that society see’s relationships and marriage as a social norm, and negative connotations may be inflicted upon the single for not abiding (Gordon, 2003). An article written in 2013 states that single woman lead “lonely, depressed and incomplete lives“ (Spielmann et al., 2013). Highly suggesting that being single in this world is not acceptable and will lead to increasing unhappiness. This suggests that finding a partner is crucial to achieving happiness and that one’s contentment and pleasure purely comes through coupling with another human (Budgeon, 2008). Those that fail to do so will not live complete and joyful lives, and must feel as if they are incompetent and are not capable of keeping up with society’s social demands.
There are many names that surround single males and females within society. It is important to note that perspectives and ideas around singles can be negatively shaped by the discourses provided through labels and nicknames. The particular repertoire used for single individuals can include names such as spinsters, immature, weird, commitment phobic etc. (Budgeon, 2008). Each of these words generally reflects negative connotations for their single status. (Gordon, 2003; Reynolds, Wetherell & Taylor, 2007). For example, the word...