Stephanie Irwin, our Deputy Editor, responds to an article she was interviewed for on www.thetab.com, and explains how she was mislead.


 

A few weeks ago, I received a creepy Facebook message, completely out of the blue. It was an editor from The Tab, requesting to interview me on “living alone”. Although this lack of professionalism should have been a solid forewarning, I pitied him and agreed to answer a few questions. Little did I know, however, that he actually pitied me. After I agreed to be interviewed, I was asked the following:

How come you chose to live alone?
Why do you prefer it?
Do you have a lot of people over?
Do you think there’s a stigma attached to living alone at uni?
Does it ever get lonely?
How much do you spend on food?
Do you feel more independent being by yourself?
What do your family and friends think?

Again, pitying our dear authors (who are both male, might I add), I attempted to provide relatively intelligent responses. In hindsight, the tone of the questions themselves are slightly condescending, and infer that:

1) choosing to live alone is bizarre [surely, everyone must hate you if you have to live alone],

2) how could anyone prefer it,

3) you are weird if you live alone,

4) you must be sad and lonely,

5) you must eat your feelings,

6) your family must be concerned that you have no friends.

After reading over these questions, I began to feel a responsibility to dispel these apparent myths, under the guise that they referred to living alone in general. Once the article was published, its title told a far more gendered story. “Meet the girls who live alone at uni”, it read. As a student journalist as well, I recognize the importance of devising a captivating and clickable title. However, titles that take an article out of context are dangerously misleading.

Considering that both of the authors are male, and all of the subjects are female (and very much women, not girls), their male perspective questions female independence, rather than just student independence. Surely there are at least one or two men who live alone at a UK university? How do they feel? Why were their voices not heard? Does this ‘stigma of living alone’ only apply to women? Instead, the article consists of men insinuating that female independence is a bizarre concept, and the women put in the position of having to justify their lifestyle. In the spirit of quality journalism, I have decided to sarcastically re-answer these questions in the way I would have if I had been informed of their context.

What I should have said…
How come you chose to live alone?
I did not choose to live alone. I actually have no friends, since I desperately clung to my previous flat mates in order to feel some semblance of self-worth/ identity (now they all hate me and my self esteem is in ruins).

Why do you prefer it?
I don’t prefer it – I can’t handle the idea of not being attached to a group or another person – being a single girl is bad enough. No one to gossip with about the men I am desperately pining for. No one to clean up after. No one to kill spiders for me. No one at all (but my cat, of course – shout out to my tabby, Zac Efron).

Do you have a lot of people over?
Again, since no one else lives with me, how can I have people over? Since I am without flat mates, I am thus undesirable –especially as a woman. After all, why would anyone come over just to see me? That really is a baffling concept.

Do you think there’s a stigma attached to living alone at uni?
Since I live my life with the aim of pleasing everyone, (like all women should), I’d say that there definitely is. As a woman, being alone is terrifying, since I need constant validation from other people – even about my mere existence.

Does it ever get lonely?
100% — although my old flat mates hated me, one can only feel lonely when they are physically alone. Clearly. Duh.

How much do you spend on food?
I spend a lot on food –since most of my lonesome days consist of crying, eating biscuits and watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians – I pretend they’re my flatmates as a coping mechanism.

Do you feel more independent being by yourself?
I just feel lonely, since, as a female, I cannot fathom the idea of ‘independence’ (that is very much a state reserved for men). Instead, I only feel a sense of personal identity when I cling to other people.

What do your family and friends think?
My parents are very, very disappointed. They sent me to St Andrews to find a husband (a prince, ideally), but because I live alone, all I have acquired are a cat and an addiction to biscuits (which are slowly making me fat, and thus even more undesirable). How am I to meet men if I can’t go on double dates with my flat mates? How am I to meet anyone when I cannot rely on my flat mates to host parties? (Obviously people who live alone are incapable of doing such things). Since I don’t have any friends, the latter portion of your question cannot be answered.

 

Through my sarcasm, I hope to illuminate the obscene nature of these questions. Please, go ahead and write a response. Or maybe, for fun, have a girl interview men who live alone. But most importantly, be sure to not mess with fellow student journalists –we will respond (especially since I live alone, and thus, have nothing else to do).

 

 

Stephanie Irwin

 

 

Featured Image: Badass cat lady extrodinaire, Lynea Lattanzio who rescues abandoned and homeless kittens. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cat_House_on_the_Kings