In the Concrete Now: Investigating Feminist Challenges to Popular Romance Production

Publication year
Plaridel: A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society

The publication of the Rosas Series represents an interesting moment in the history of popular literary production if only for its attempt at challenging the logic of the culture industry, which is the pursuit of profit through the reproduction of the dominant aspects of culture, including the normalizing discourses that are deployed by the different institutions in society.
Published by Anvil, the Rosas Series launched its alternative feminist romance novels in 1991. (91)


Lualhati Bautista, who was the editor of the Rosas Series, encouraged the writing of novels which censure sexism and tackle women’s issues (Barrios 2001). Bautista issued the following guidelines for the Rosas writers: “1. The novel should get away from escapism and does not have to end happily; 2. It does not necessarily have to be written from the woman’s point of view; 3. The language does not have to be sexist” (Encanto 1996: 182). Bautista screened the manuscripts “to ensure that there are no sexist overtones or words” and “to enhance [the] effectiveness [of the novels] as vehicles for advocating the feminist point of view” (Encanto 1996: 61).
A year after it was launched, the Rosas Series discontinued publication due to its low sales. (92)


this paper analyzes four of the 12 novels written by Joi Barrios. Among the writers of the Rosas Series, Barrios is one of the two who have written the most number of novels in the series. (92-93)