Media: Spinster Stereotypes in Cinema

Our culture is based on the role of woman as a mother and wife. The cultural view of the spinster has been sinister. Later the change in society and erosion of nuclear family has forced the industry to update the stereotype.

Spinster: An Evolving Stereotype Revealed Through Film by Deborah J. Mustard, in On-line publication of January 20, 2000, Journal of Media Psychology

Spinster is like curse word. Everybody knows the stereotype: il fitting cloths, depressed image, middle aged woman. She longs to be like other “normal” women. Movie industry has used this image efficiently for years. This kind of stereotypes work as a form of social control, by definition of normal as opposed to it.

Spinster stereotype also is a care taker of elderly parents and relatives, possibly also children of her siblings. Like Diane Keaton in Marwins Room, in 1990s. The image is still there. As spinster has no own children, society expects her to fill the generic role of mother, as her duty, by care taking others.

There are no male spinsters. Bachelor implies something virile and available, something desirable. Totally opposed to spinster. Bachelor could continued partying, while it had been immoral of spinster to behave similarly.

The psychological profile is: 1) abnormal (motherhood and marriage as a norm in womens life) 2) pitiful (being in the perifery of life), 3) unfunfilled (alone, waiting scraps from others tables, desperate) and 4) suspected (staying in adolescence life too long, personal or social threath to married women).


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