Late last month, a panel of Fox News commentators discussed the coming elections when host Kimberly Guilfoyle explained why she didn’t think young single women should vote:
“It’s the same reason why young women on juries are not a good idea. They don’t get it. They’re not in that same life experience of paying the bills, doing the mortgage, kids, community, crime, education, health care. They’re healthy and hot and running around without a care in the world,” she said on The Five.
Of course, this statement is ridiculous—in what world do single people not have to worry about bills, crime or healthcare?
In fact, in many ways, single people often carry heavier loads than married people. You want to know a really great way to relieve the stress of bills? Have a spouse to split them with. Ditto for healthcare—I know many people whose health insurance worries were wiped away with the signing of a marriage license. As for crime—most people generally feel safer when they have a partner to walk home with on dark nights or investigate the source of that sudden thump at 3 a.m.
For younger singles, the challenges are even greater. Not only did they have to pay more for their college education than their elders, they entered the job market at a time of high unemployment and low wages. Many are working at low-paying jobs and struggling to make basic bills—hardly the joy ride that Guilfoyle makes it out to be.
But if news personalities don’t get the significant adult realities that young singles are facing, that is in part because singles often don’t push back on the “carefree” conceit. In fact, many encourage it. After all, what’s the alternative? If you can’t present your married friends and relatives with a cheerful list of glittery parties, fun activities and thrilling romances, you risk being becoming an object of pity.
That’s one of the toughest parts about being single, you’re too often lumped into one of two very unappealing, one-dimensional stereotypes: the boozy party animal or the sad loner.
Of course, most single people are neither. They are people with jobs, and people with friends. They are people with bills to pay, and people who sometimes splurge on vacations and restaurant dinners. Some of them follow politics closely and are extremely well-informed; others don’t pay much attention at all.
In other words, there is nothing that makes a single person less qualified to vote than a married person–or a woman less qualified than a man (a matter I thought we resolved in 1920). As for age, we all know that there are plenty of extremely well-informed and politically engaged people in their twenties, and lots of people over 40 who have never shown the slightest curiosity about the world beyond their nearest streetlamp.
Guilfoyle is not the only media personality who has suggested single women stay away from the polls today. Fox’s Tucker Carlson and The National Review Online’s Kevin D. Williamson have also said words to that effect.
It’s beyond depressing that in 2014 single people must still deal with these stereotypes. But there is one great way to prove they are wrong and make your voice heard. If there are people in the world who don’t want you to vote, that strikes me as an excellent reason to vote.
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