Media and the Single Life

The new Sex and the City film comes out next week. I will watch it. I will enjoy it. But I will also feel a niggling sense of mourning, for how willing the four heroines ultimately were to surrender their single-but-fabulous image.

The trend for celebrating coupled-up bliss over the single life carries right across the media. There are the obvious culprits; articles and radio items advising single people on how to find love. But there are more subtle examples: travel articles aimed at families, columns about the trials of domestic life, news articles offering statistics on the quality of life of couples versus singles.

Celebrating Choices

While choosing not to marry or have children is still a minority choice, the minority that choose to take this path is growing and media coverage needs to reflect that. It does do this to a certain extent, but it corrals single people into special sections, one-off feature articles or segments in radio stations. But the voices of single people need to become integral to all media coverage.

There are various ways to weave the single life throughout the media. For example:

  • Travel articles for the solo traveller
  • More profiles of single people (ex. Miriam Meets on Radion 1)
  • Practical pieces about socialising as a single person.
  • Personal columns that offer a humorous birds-eye view of the single life.
  • News articles revealing statistics about the benefits of single life.
  • Products and services tailored to single people.
  • Celebrations of the different types of single, men, women, gay or straight, permanently single or newly single.

Win-Win for Singles and Media

Giving single people a voice will help them feel more accepted and included in the media. As a result, they’ll be more likely to be loyal to a magazine, radio programme, TV programme or newspaper. Journalists will appreciate the opportunity to look at life from unusual angles and to include viewpoints that add richness to their coverage, They will derive satisfaction from knowing that their coverage is reaching out to new audiences.

Spin-Off for Business and Advertising

Creating media coverage that appeals to single people isn’t just aspiration. It can bring in revenue, for the media and for businesses. This is a powerful demographic; it is growing and it has a lot of disposable income. If you have a business with a product or service which appeals to this demographic, you can pitch it to the media, outlining its benefits for their audiences. The media itself will benefit because its coverage will help advertisers tap into a lucrative market.

What’s Your View?

This blog represents my own views as a single (as in not married) person who has chosen not to have children. If anyone can point me to examples of positive media coverage of the single life, I’d be happy to explore them.


5 thoughts on “Media and the Single Life

  1. As a person who chose to stay single AND have children I find I don’t quite fit into either category. I’m definitely not part of a couple but am not included in the single group either. I find that society’s attitude to single parents (who actually look after and raise their children instead of walking away) is worse than it is to single no dependants people.

    There does seem to be a kind of pitying attitude to someone who chooses not to get married (or even co-habit), almost as if they have a sad existance. I can’t see any benefits to marriage and chose not to take that path. People in general like what is considered “the norm” and anyone outside of that tends to be marginalised both by business and society.


  2. I was married and I have also been a single parent and now both my children have flown the nest. Whatever your life choice, life is difficult, no matter your status, it’s hard. That’s life, in my opinion. However, there is always joy, the joy that comes from being who you are, no matter what you choose to do.

    Derbhile thank you for challenging the media to be even more creative on being single. You go girl!



  3. You are so right Derbhile. Great post.
    I am not single but it frequently annoys me that being a single person is often portrayed in the media as somehow sub-normal and, even worse, that all single people must be constantly pining for coupledom.
    The same applies to the choice not to have children. An expression that is common in both the media and colloquially here in Ireland is to “have family” – meaning, to have children. I have good friends who are in lifelong relationships without children, and I find it hurtful to them that their partner is not considered their “family” by some.
    Going to sign up for site updates now, looking forward to more.


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