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The Marginalized Majority

Media Representation and Lived Experiences of Single Women

Kristie Collins

This book presents a cultural analysis of social discourses and lived experiences of single women, a demographic category that census figures indicate to be the statistical «norm» in the United States and Canada – and yet, it remains a group that largely sees itself as marginalized. While singleness and other forms of non-normative lifestyles have been gaining interest from academics and society at large, a distinct commitment to female singleness studies has yet to emerge.
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.


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Conclusion Toward the Unmarginalized Majority 183


183 Conclusion Toward the Unmarginalized Majority Ah yeah that’s right All you single people out there This is for you I’m not waitin’ around for a man to save me (Cos I’m happy where I am) Don’t depend on a guy to validate me (No no) I don’t need to be anyone’s baby (Is that so hard to understand?) No, I don’t need another half to make me whole1 The preceding chapters have sought to examine and critique the social construction and the lived experiences of previously-married and never- married single women of differing ages from the perspectives of media representation of female singleness and the development of feminism; use of mediated discourses of female singleness in the identity construction and stigma management of single women; impacts of economic and geo- graphic localities in the lived experiences of single women; and academe’s complicity in the continued marginalization of single women through its sustained support of life course theories. After reviewing the key literature on women and singleness studies and the common theoretical methods which tend to underpin the predominantly qualitative work, the book’s objectives and methodology were explained in detail; subsequently, four analytical chapters were presented to illuminate the way in which media representations and both social perceptions and individual identity con- structions of female singleness point—in large part—to a continuing so- cial devaluation of single women collectively. And yet, several shifts could be observed in the way that single women have been stigmatized—or glorified—depending on...

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