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Silencing the single woman: Negotiating the ‘failed’ feminine subject in contemporary UK society

Gilchrist, Kate R; (2021) Silencing the single woman: Negotiating the ‘failed’ feminine subject in contemporary UK society. Sexualities 10.1177/13634607211041100. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Despite a growth in single women in UK society over the past two decades, single femininity continues to be highly stigmatised. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theory of the heterosexual matrix and applying this to qualitative interview data with 25 single women, I argue that single femininity is produced as abject through processes of silencing which render the single female a ‘failed’ subject and reinscribe heteronormative coupled femininity. Yet while deeply painful, such ‘failures’ may also be productive, offering moments where the boundaries of heteronormative feminine subjectivity and hierarchies of intimate life are troubled and transformed. This article complicates understandings of stigma and resistance through a nuanced analysis of processes of abjectification and ambivalence.

Type: Article
Title: Silencing the single woman: Negotiating the ‘failed’ feminine subject in contemporary UK society
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/13634607211041100
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F13634607211041100
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 by SAGE Publications. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147134
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