Stop waiting! Hegemonic and alternative scripts of single women’s subjectivity

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The present article argues that despite growing rates of single living worldwide, alternative representations of the single women who do not necessarily spend their life ‘waiting for the one’ are regularly absent from public view. By exploring the injunction as well as the option of non-waiting, this paper contributes to time studies by stressing how understandings of waiting inform hegemonic and alternative forms of temporal subjectivity and sociality. In the first part of this paper, I explore the ways in which the injunction to stop waiting is articulated in heteronormative imagery. This call is regularly expressed with temporal urgency, and from this vantage point waiting comes to represent passivity and immobility. Accordingly, women are expected to ‘move on’ and be active in their own self-governance, which adapts to conventional norms of femininity. In the second part of this article, I demonstrate how the option of non-waiting dismantles and reworks heteronormative life scripts, and offers new subject positions for single women. These reflections propose alternative timetables that allow single women to reclaim their temporal agency and re-define their own temporal rhythms and life trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-520
Number of pages22
JournalTime and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2019


  • Waiting
  • hetrenormative time
  • non-waiting
  • single women
  • subjectivity


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