In the age of digital media, biased and baseless editorials are as common as the social media platforms that users share them on.
Semi-recently, an article popped up in my Facebook newsfeed, entitled: “Cuddlers, Rejoice! Science Proves That Sleeping With Someone Else Is Good For Your Health”. At first, I disregarded the misuse of the word “prove”, chalking it up to a desperate attempt to drive up their web traffic (I was right). Reading on, it wasn’t the findings, but rather the misrepresentation of information that made my jaw drop. Overall, it was the senselessly nasty and insulting tone of the article that infuriated me, and prompted me to write this blog – to defend my singletons.
The article “presented” the collective research that Andrea Petersen had previously presented in The Wall Street Journal. Please note that science doesn’t definitively prove anything; it finds evidence to support a theory. Phrases like, “would suggest”, are frequent in Petersen’s paper, as they should be. The opposite is true for its ditzier step-sister, which opens alerting single women that, “there really is some science as to why your sorry, single self is going to bed at night alone and waking up miserable…We’re probably not the first people to tell you this – and don’t get all offended when we do – but you need to find a partner”. Low blows like, “And if you’re still single, there’s another reason to feel worse about yourself (no, it’s not about skipping a gym day)” are peppered throughout the (shockingly) non-Op-Ed piece (it was listed under Women’s Health!). The closing line reads, ”Basically, science is telling us something we already knew: One really is the loneliest number”.
If the goal of this article was to fabricate scientific research, and push a once confident single woman into insecurity – job well done. If the objective was to present accurate research in a short, comprehensible summary – well, it was certainly short and easy to read. In an attempt to be funny and cute, the author came off as extremely ignorant. As a journalist, her job was to present research that found that “couples may get health benefits from sleeping in the same bed”. Instead, she shames single women for their lifestyles, ignoring the fact that single women are not a cult or an entity – each woman is an individual, and therefore has her own reasons for being single.
The assumption that everyone should be looking for a relationship is simply outrageous and potentially harmful. A woman needs to have the integrity to wait for a partner who is respectful and satisfying. This piece not only ignores that, but also encourages women to find someone just to keep loneliness at bay. It tells women to “hold onto their man” or risk being “lonely, cranky, and tired.” It’s that kind of juvenile advice that drives women in unhappy, maybe even physically or verbally abusive relationships to stick around because apparently being single for even a month is worse than a black eye.
I understand that ethical journalism is simply obsolete in certain publications, so I guess I shouldn’t that this particular publication threw caution to the wind when it came to unbiased reporting. But as a woman, stick up for your gender. Just because studies have found that women who sleep in the same bed with someone every night were happier, doesn’t mean the others are “miserable”, and if they are, I don’t think the answer is to sleep with whatever Joe they see.