Single people, like people in relationships, are no exception: they have certain stereotypes that stick to them. A brief overview of the subject, based on the results of a study.
Stereotypes die hard, even for single people. A study identified those describing people living alone, in order to better understand the image they can convey, despite themselves.
Single women better perceived than men
The researchers brought together a cohort of 286 American and Canadian participants. In their two-part study, homogeneous groups of single men and women in their fifties were invited to answer an online questionnaire, particularly on the question of the perception of their singleness and the discrimination that could arise from it. They were also asked to give positive and negative stereotypes related to their condition.
Results: Researchers found that single people were seen as independent and kind, on the positive side, but also selfish. “We were surprised by the number of positive stereotypes for single women that highlighted their resilience, creativity and strength. In contrast, some of the stereotypes of single men were extremely negative, such as “pedophile” and “misogynist”, which highlighted that some single men can be perceived as dangerous and hostile.” specify the scientists.
Four single stereotypes have been identified
Finally, four typical profiles of single people were identified, based on the stereotypes that can be attributed to them. Each of these has its own set of associated characteristics. So there is :
- The professional : this type of single person is often seen as independent, ambitious and hardworking. They are considered “accomplished” and competent in their career or personal activities. Small nuance, depending on gender, however: single women in this category were only stereotyped as “successful” and “competent”, which highlights their achievements. In contrast, single men in this group were often seen as “reliable” and “career-oriented”, which rather highlights their commitment to work;
- The carefree: This stereotype describes single people as free, kind, and fun. They are seen as open-minded and enjoy life without the constraints of a committed relationship. A nuance exists here again between the genders: single women in this category have been described as “creative” and “open-minded”. Single men in this group were seen as “flexible” and enjoying more free time, indicating their ability to enjoy life to the fullest;
- The egoist: This stereotype depicts single people as selfish. They may be seen as lacking empathy or emotional depth. Women in this category are seen as evil and men as untrustworthy;
- The solitary : this adjective groups together loners, unattractive and antisocial. They may be perceived as isolated and distant from others. Here, single women in this category were described as “icy” and “bitter”, men as “immature”.
The only downside: the study remains based on self-reported data, which can be influenced by individual perceptions and biases. Additionally, it focused on a specific age group and region, potentially limiting its generalizability.
And what do you think of singles?