Singlehood in Treatment: Interrogating the discursive alliance between postfeminism and therapeutic culture

Kinneret Lahad, Avi Shoshana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article offers a critical discourse analysis of the Israeli television series In Treatment. The series unfolds the therapy sessions of a 40-year-old single female attorney with her therapist. The main objective of the study was to identify the scripted tactics or narrative strategies that establish and maintain singlehood. The findings indicate that the therapeutic discourse plays a central role in the construction and interpretation of single women’s subjectivities, prompting a narrative that encourages the ‘discarding’ of singlehood as well as therapeutic work slanted towards a more familial and maternally oriented subjectivity. This narrative unfolds through two dominant scripted tactics: the symbolic annihilation of singlehood and the construction of feminine identity hierarchies (what the authors term ‘hierarchies of happy endings’). Moreover, it is also prompted by the discursive alliance between the therapeutic discourse and the postfeminist discourse. Consequently, long-term singlehood is portrayed as an unnatural and pathological life script characterized by its lack and deficiency. Furthermore, as opposed to childless singlehood, single motherhood by choice emerges as a preferred and desirable life option. The category of single motherhood is endowed with new forms of legitimacy, reinforcing new-old patriarchal and postfeminist conceptions of women’s reproductive potential and what is considered to be women’s primary life purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-349
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Women's Studies
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015.

Keywords

  • In Treatment
  • postfeminism
  • single mothers by choice
  • single women
  • therapy

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