Wednesday, November 18, 2009

'Freemales' and Bridget Jones

One cultural context for our present course of study will be explored in seminar this week. The present version of Bridget Jones is, mass media (here, Britain's Daily Mail) declares, the "freemale":
The number of single women has hit an all-time high, a study has shown - and most of them aren't looking for love.
They apparently choose to be alone, and rejoice in a life where they can spend time and money as they wish.
This new breed of singleton has been dubbed a 'freemale', because she chooses her freedom over a family.
Note the use of the Bridget Jones's Diary term in the article. Moreover, this social fact--if it is a fact--accords precisely with Helen Fielding's satire on modern middle-class consumer culture: freemale being simply the extension of self-indulgent capitalist participation:
"[Men are] Bastards!" yelled Jude, slurping her Pinot Grigio.
"Bastards," I yelled through a mouthful of raspberry pavlova mixed with
"Bloody bastards!" shouted Jude, lighting a Silk Cut with the end of
another one.
The article also locates freemales precisely with the class demographic of Helen Fielding's satiric target: middle-to-upper-middle class urban women engaged in the production modes of industrial Capitalism:
Dr Jan Macvarish, a sociologist from the University of Kent and author of a research paper Understanding the Popularity of Living that changes in society have made it more acceptable for women to remain single for longer, and says the trend particularly affects urban and educated females in professional or managerial roles.
Further, the article echoes the sub-text of Bridget Jones's Diary that children are barrier to optimal participation in the Capitalist economy:
'There is also less of a stigma about not having children. Now, these women call themselves childfree rather than childless.

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