"Am I asking for too much?" The selective single woman as a new social problem

Kinneret Lahad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study is to provide a cultural analysis of the label of selectiveness as it relates to single women. The discursive expansion of the category of selectiveness as well as the "remedies" that have been set up to "cure" single women of their selective traits-as revealed through a textual analysis of web columns written by and about single women-proves to be a fascinating social terrain for exploring the possibilities and limitations of women's quest for self-fulfillment. The notion of selectiveness provides popular imagery with pervasive discursive resources for objectification and normalization. Labeling single women as overly selective acts as a classificatory mechanism with clear guidelines for discerning normative from excessive subjectivity. Furthermore, in many ways selectiveness is configured as a short-lived privilege dependent on one's age and gender. Indeed, the textual analysis reveals that during the transition from normative to late singlehood, single women lose their entitlement to maintain the selective stance. In that respect, this work joins the scholarly literature that addresses current regimes of feminine subjectivity as well as the contradictory role demands in which women today are required to carefully manage their own biographies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
StatePublished - Sep 2013


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