‘You wish to follow your heart, and I wish to nurture my mind’: The figures of the spinster and widow in Bridgerton

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As a romantic drama fictionalizing the Regency marriage mart, Bridgerton (2020–present) is a series which privileges women’s experiences. From the debutantes entering society, to their ‘ambitious mamas’, feminine narratives play out across the two seasons which have aired to date. Warranting particular attention are the figures of the widow and the ‘spinster’, whose representations this article explores. Bridgerton’s widows are presented as dynamic characters at the centre of their families and the ‘bon ton’, embodying the freedoms elite widows could enjoy. In contrast, the spinster is a topic of (negative) discussion but absent physically, despite the many elite Georgian women who never married. Ideals of independence are explored in some of Bridgerton’s young protagonists, but these are ultimately limited in the constraints of the drama’s romanticized Regency world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Popular Television
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2023

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