Single Women in Popular Culture: The Limits of Postfeminism by Anthea Taylor (auth.)

By Anthea Taylor (auth.)

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1), the perceived ‘problem’ of single women is evident in this comment from Beck and Beck-Gresham: ‘there is another problem emerging, affecting those women who pursue an independent career but must in many cases pay a high price, the loneliness of the professionally successful woman’ (1995, p. 63). Single Women in Popular Culture positions itself against some of these previous critical accounts that, despite these claims about the deprioritization of coupledom and intimacy transformed, reinscribe the sense of women’s singleness as an aberrant and inherently undesirable way of being.

Au). Referring in its title to ‘The Bridget Jones Economy’, an article in The Economist also uses Fielding’s heroine to identify global demographic shifts and to discuss their economic implications6: Bridget may be a caricature, but only just. Her creator, Helen Fielding, has drawn someone much more human and recognisable than the elegant and wealthy young New York singles in the TV shows ‘Friends’ and ‘Sex and the City’. Yet all three portray people who dominate and shape the rich world’s city life, not just in 38 Single Women in Popular Culture New York and London, but increasingly in Tokyo, Stockholm, Paris and Santiago: well-educated, single professionals in their 20s and 30s … Bridget and her friends have begun to show up in the census figures.

Indeed, so hypervisible was this purportedly ‘new single woman’ that she was even addressed – indeed quite literally hailed – in a song by American pop songstress Beyonce, who implored ‘all the single ladies’ to ‘put [their] hands up’. However, ‘All the Single Ladies’ (2008) functioned as more of a cautionary tale to commitment-phobic boyfriends who had missed the proverbial boat by failing to seal the deal with a marriage proposal. The song warns men that they are easily replaceable should they not fulfil this universal feminine desire.

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