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Society views and treats women who are single differently than women who are not single. This practice of stereotyping and discrimination towards singles is called singlism. The purpose of this qualitative study was to use grounded theory methodology to explore and explain how women experience singlism and what explains how women experience singlism. Social constructionism, cognitive dissonance theory, and social identity theory were used as conceptual foundations in explaining how society constructs the status of single women, how single women are viewed and treated, and how single women manage their single social identity. The participants of the study included women over the age of 18 who self-identified as single and as having experienced singlism. Semistructured interviews, memoing, and member checking were used to collect data. Initial, focused, and theoretical coding procedures were used to manage the data, and a content analysis of the textual data was performed. Findings from the data suggest women respond to singlism by experiencing feelings, adopting beliefs, and participating in behaviors. A woman's experience of negative or angry feelings, adopting beliefs supporting or opposing to singlism, and participating in behaviors to support or oppose singlism is explained by her internalization of singlism, and of the ideology of family and marriage. Social action is needed to counteract singlism. This necessitates an identity shift to reframe single as a positive social identity which begins by raising awareness about singlism. The findings of this study may promote positive social change by raising awareness about singlism.
Hancock, Lisa Lynn, "How Women Experience and Respond to Singlism: Stereotyping and Discrimination of Singles" (2017). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 3994.