Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Television has been part of American culture since it appeared in homes across the nation. What remains most memorable to many viewers are the characters that they meet on sitcoms (Waldron, 1987). A few generations apart, two single career women graced the screens of television sets. Mary Richards of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City represent women looking for love and career fulfillment in the big city. This essay seeks to understand how rhetorical representations of single working women have changed over time. Two episodes have been selected from each show that best illustrate the plight of the single lead character in each show. These episodes will then be analyzed through third-wave feminist ideology to make its argument. This essay contends that while women on television have earned professional equality with their male counterparts, they remain unfulfilled in their personal lives as they valiantly attempt to balance romances and workplaces. While Mary is fighting to advance in the newsroom, Carrie has complete control over her writing. Despite these differences, both women are seeking love and fulfillment and with close analysis, it is clear that the rhetorical representation of a woman's ability to balance a man and her career has remained much the same. The conclusions drawn from this analysis show that women are empowered in the workplace, but are still dependent on men in their lives for a sense of personal happiness and self-worth.