Single Shaming, according to relationships counsellor Stephanie Regan is:
“referencing a person’s single status as something that needs changing or fixing”
In addition, it can be defined as “the stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination against people who are single”.
WHY SINGLE NIGERIAN WOMEN STRUGGLE TO RENT HOMES
SINGLE SHAMING – A TALE FROM NIGERIA
In Nigeria, many landlords believe single women are prostitutes, making it harder for them to rent apartments.
A friend of mine who requested to be anonymous; recently moved to Kogi State, Nigeria. She settled into a hotel for a while and then decided to go house hunting.
MEN HAVE MORE MONEY
She did find the houses she liked but she faced an embarrassing challenge which I will term the “no man” challenge. The houses she liked the most, their landlords refused to rent out any apartment to her with the excuse that she should present a man (either a husband or fiancé). Furthermore, they mentioned that she can’t afford the rent, therefore she would only be given a house if she came up with a man because many landlords believe that women do not earn enough to pay the rent.
WE WANT DECENT PEOPLE
Out of frustration she confronted one of the landlords but the landlord stood his ground. Also, every landlord offered the same explanation to her that he does not want a “prostitute” in his property. Besides, she should be engaged to someone in order to even come up with the rent she had to pay.
She searched for an apartment for months but the same condition kept staring her in the face. Luckily, in the fourth month of her apartment search, a cousin of mine had to travel to lokoja for a conference. Consequently, we managed to make him stand out as her fiancé. In fact, this is how my friend was able to get an apartment.
My friend is just one of the many single women who have been faced with the “no man” challenge when searching for an apartment in Nigeria and this is something called, “Single Shaming”.
SINGLE SHAMING – TRUTH STRAIGHT FROM NIGERIA
It is the belief that one’s life is somehow incomplete without a partner.
Single shaming comes from the idea that being single is somehow ‘lesser’ to being in a relationship.
In Nigeria, single shaming occurs in different forms. Also, it is not only limited to family members who start pressuring you to get married once you hit your 30’s because they think your being single is just simply embarrassing us. Likewise, they don’t want people to brag about you that you’re not qualified to take up positions; simply because you’re unmarried.
FACTS AND FIGURES – MENACING IMPACTS OF SINGLE SHAMING
A new research from Match has found that 52 percent of people have experienced single-shaming since the start of the pandemic. Almost two fifths (38 percent) say they’ve been pitied for not having a partner. In addition, 30 percent people living alone. Moreover, only 59 per cent are contented with their relationship status.
For instance, a therapist on psychology today reminds us that shame in all its forms,invades our psyches, undermines our accomplishments, and erodes our self-worth. There should be nothing where one’s self-worth is compromised. This is where the potential seeds of depression are planted.
Besides the life accomplishments achieved as a single Nigerian lady are often regarded as nothing if you do not have a man by your side. Furthermore the media i.e. most comedy skits in Nigeria go ahead to portray the 30+ year old single women as being totally desperate for marriage. Because it is a popular believe that at this point in their life; they would fancy any man that would come their way. That’s what made “30” a dreaded number for most Nigerian ladies.
ALICE ODOH ON THE TOPIC
Alice Odoh, a Nigerian woman walked HERWORDS through her experience with Single Shaming. She explained everything she faced. Hence, concluding that she is happy with what she has accomplished so far in her life.
Click here to listen Alice!
RESPONDING SINGLE SHAMING
HERWORDS advice when you encounter single shaming:
- “First of all, take a deep breath!” when someone single shame you.
- You can start off by calmly relating your point of view on singlehood to the person shaming you.
- You can also consider being sarcastic about it. First of all, as the aim of single shaming you is to make you feel bad, so approaching it this way can take the person off balance.
“It takes a strong person to be single in a world screaming at you to settle for anything, just so you can say you have ‘something'” – Adaeze Ogbuafor
In the end, singlehood is meant to be enjoyed as part of life and there is no reason to shame it.