Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bella DePaulo

From a Q & A with Bella DePaulo about her book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After:

What was the inspiration for your book?

I was inspired by a lifetime of personal experiences as a single person. What was striking about my experiences is that they did not fit with the prevailing cultural portrayal of singlehood. Stereotypically, as a single person, I should have been miserable, lonely, selfish, immature, and desperate to find my way to coupledom. I wasn’t. But I was treated as if I fit all of those descriptions.

How and why did you start working on this book?

The first step toward writing this book – and beyond that, embracing consciousness-raising about singles as the defining passion of my life – was to find out whether my own experiences as a single person were shared. Very tentatively at first, I began to ask other singles whether (for example) they believed they were excluded from social events because they were not coupled or were asked to work at unpopular times by colleagues and bosses who assumed they had nothing better to do. Sometimes I initiated such a conversation at a social event, while talking to one other person. A predictable sequence ensued. The other person had plenty of stories. Then, others at the event heard our conversation and joined us. The discussion continued over the course of the evening. Then, the next day, I often had emails from people describing other experiences they forgot to mention the night before.

Next, I began to study singles, and their place in society and in science, in earnest. I conducted studies, read extensively, and taught a course on the topic. I began to receive invitations to speak about singles. I was also awarded grant money to continue my research. Then I was invited to write the target article for a double-issue of a journal that was dedicated exclusively to the study of singles. Ten sets of scholars from a variety of disciplines wrote comments on my target article, and my co-author and I wrote a response.

By then, I was also recognized by people in the media as someone with expertise on the topic of singles. I was quoted in newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Major newsweeklies such as Business Week ran cover stories on singles in which I was quoted. The year 2004 was a Presidential election year, and singles were the new hot demographic. My op-ed, “Sex and the Single Voter,” was published in The New York Times.

It was time to write my book.
Read the entire Q & A.

The Page 69 Test: Singled Out.

My Book, The Movie: Singled Out.

--Marshal Zeringue