Is your perception of who you are a product of propaganda that subtly moves you to think a certain way about being single?
What is it with the Hollywood film and TV industry, which finds it so intriguing, so funny and apparently so profitable to portray single people as buffoons, losers and otherwise pathetic characters that can only be redeemed from their miserable single state by finally getting coupled?
It just astounds me. Single adults are now the majority of the population, and growing in numbers. You’d think making an issue about being single would be well past its expiration date. But just as soon as I think there’s nothing more for me to rant about on behalf of single people, just when I start pondering a plan to change Singular magazine to “successful city living” rather than “successful single living,” BAM! I slam into another example that demonstrates that disrespect for single people is thriving. And the biggest offender: the American film and TV business.
Just last week I was driving west on the 10 Freeway and saw a big billboard, seen by hundreds of thousands of drivers, for the so-called NBC comedy “The Undateables” and the line: So Single It Hurts. (The second season premiered on March 17.) The message? It hurts to be single and the more single you are, the more undesirable you are. You are a joke, you are pathetic. In fact, the more single you are (not steadily dating or at least trying to get un-single), the more hideous you must surely be.
The same week I saw that billboard, a single guy friend forwarded me an email he received. Read for yourself and shudder:
SINGLE MEN READY TO GET MARRIED!
FIND THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE ON NEW TV SHOW – WITH THE HELP OF YOUR PARENTS!
We are searching NATIONWIDE for SINGLE MEN READY TO GET MARRIED for groundbreaking new television series from a top production company!
* Are you ready to settle down and get married?
* Have your parents been together for many years?
* Would you marry someone your parents chose for you?
* Are you looking for the same type of loving relationship that they have?
* Do you trust your parents to set you up with your future spouse?
If you’re a single guy between the ages of 25 and 35, have parents who have been together for many years, and are ready to get married yourself – we want to hear from you!
There is pay if you’re selected to be on the show, plus this is an amazing opportunity to take part in a ground-breaking TV series and find the love of your life!
Love stories have been popular since Antony glimpsed Cleopatra. But this isn’t that. What Hollywood does is repeat the message, ad infinitum, that single is bad, coupled is good — get with the program people and get hitched!
Of course, not all TV shows and movies fall into this predictable trap. Everyone remembers “Sex in the City.” In its original reincarnation on HBO, the characters were single women: the show highlighted their trials and triumphs. But when it was released as a feature film, the successful single theme disappeared and it all revolved around Carrie finally marrying Mr. Big.
And what about “Wedding Crashers,” with its single man scoundrels who finally see the light and get coupled? Or “Bridget Jones,” “Knocked Up,” “40 Year Old Virgin,” “Pretty Woman.” The list goes on and on, and all feature the screwed-up single person who becomes a winner by finally finding “the one.”
Propaganda works best when it’s not perceived as such — when it’s delivered as “harmless” entertainment when our defenses are down and we’re most susceptible to absorbing “the message.” After all, it’s just a TV show. It’s just a movie. So we sit, staring at the screen, and let the brainwashing begin: single you lose, coupled you win. Drip, drip, drip, like water on granite, the indoctrination carves a pathway in our neural transmitters until it’s perceived as absolute truth.
As a recipient of such intended messages, it’s important to question what kinds of cultural and social messages are being delivered to you via a flickering screen. Remember, subliminal messages meant to influence your beliefs and behavior are often most effective when dished up as entertainment.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2015 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.