have always been defined in relation to men. Single women
have been represented both as 'old maids' (who could not get
a man), and as 'city singles' (who do not want a man). Both
stereotypes potentially marginalise single women in
family-centred societies. But there is also increasing
diversity in family and household formations: people shift
in and out of traditional categories - they marry, divorce,
explores both continuities and changes in the position of
single women - unmarried and divorced, heterosexual and
lesbian - with different social and ethnic backgrounds.
Through interviews with a heterogeneous group of 72 women in
three metropolitan areas - London, San Francisco and
Helsinki - where singleness should be realatively easy,
Tuula Gordon explores such questions as: What pleasures and
gains does singlehood bring? Is singleness chosen or not?
What difficulties are attached to living outside marriage?
Their views and reflections of work, home, friends, families,
marriage, loneliness, intimacy and sexuality provide rich
material to illustrate the heterogeity of single women today.
Their struggles to establisch autonomy and independence are
analysed; single women are learning a 'new script'."
spinsters to singles
in the nineteenth century
Unmarried women in the 1950s
Single women in the 1980s
The problem of categories
Individuality, autonomy and women
The making of a "single woman"
Conception of self as single?
Singleness as a choice?
Who becomes single?
Mother and father
Excursion into the public sphere
Excursion into the private sphere
Partnerships and sexuality
On being single