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Dysfunction, Deviancy, and Sexual Autonomy: The Single Female Detective in Primetime TV

Gilchrist, Kate R; (2022) Dysfunction, Deviancy, and Sexual Autonomy: The Single Female Detective in Primetime TV. Television & New Media , 23 (2) pp. 184-201. 10.1177/1527476420969879. Green open access

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Abstract

As the number of single women has grown within Anglo-American society, there has been a proliferation of discourses around single women within popular culture. At the same time, there has been a resurgence in female-centered media representations of detectives. This article asks what cultural work the convergence of the single woman with the unconventional figure of the detective performs, and what this means for contemporary feminine subjectivities, exploring how she is constructed in three primetime TV crime dramas: The Bridge, The Good Wife and Fargo. I argue that while the single female detective foregrounds discourses of professionalism, rationality, and sexual autonomy, she simultaneously reinscribes patriarchal discourses of heteronormative coupledom and normative femininity through her social dysfunction, vulnerability and deviance, rendering the single woman a threat to femininity. Yet, at times, her liminal positioning allows her to occupy a more transgressive feminine subjectivity and subversively trouble the gender binary.

Type: Article
Title: Dysfunction, Deviancy, and Sexual Autonomy: The Single Female Detective in Primetime TV
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1527476420969879
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1527476420969879
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author 2022. 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/10147137
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