Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies

First Advisor

David Cotter




This longitudinal study examines the portrayal of single women on television series from the 1970s to the present demonstrating the changing perception of single women by American society through the history of television. The study first examines the demographic changes leading to the rise of "singleness" in three forms: never-married women divorced women and widowed women. The study then examines television as a cultural force which affects and reflects the way that Americans perceive themselves and others including single women. A qualitative and quantitative content analysis of six television series shows several trends which appeared throughout the series. In earlier series the episodes were focused on the workplace while in later shows more focused was placed on the personal life of the main character. The sexual relationships of main characters also increased chronologically. Television remains unrepresentative of the demographic of single women especially in regards to race and sexual orientation.