Media Representation and Lived Experiences of Single Women
Each chapter looks at distinct features of social constructions of female singleness and/or lived experiences of single women, and textual analyses and cultural critiques are used to develop a richer investigation of the data. The theoretical framework is grounded in a cultural analysis, not only using the concepts thematically to more clearly understand the data, but also calling into question the utility of the concepts themselves.
4. Life Course: The complicity of academia in the denigration of single women 147
147 4. Life Course: The complicity of academia in the denigration of single women To create a family with a spouse is one of the most fundamental ways a person can find continuity and meaning in American (or any) society. I rediscover this truth every time I go to a big reunion of my mother’s family in Minnesota and I see how everyone is held so reassuringly in their positions over the years. First you are a child, then you are a teenager, then you are a young married person, then you are a parent, then you are retired, then you are a grandparent—at every stage you know who you are, you know what your duty is and you know where to sit at the reunion […] But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of fam- ily and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the re- union?1 In the previous analytical chapters, we considered female singleness through the representation of previously-married and never-married single women in the media and its bearing on the evolution of feminism; through the way in which single women discursively constructed and made sense of their singleness in the telling of their life narratives; and through the way that geographic and economic localities shaped—and were subsequently shaped by—single, female experiences. The current chapter seeks to ex- amine female singlehood from yet another perspective—a theoretical ap-...
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