Feminism in Romance: How the romance genre has(n't) changed since the 1950s

Bachelor thesis
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Publication year

Only the abstract was available for download at the time I accessed this. Here's the version in English:

In this paper, I show how feminism has impacted the romance genre over time by discussing romance novels published in the 50s, 70s, and 90s. As romance novels are mainly written by women, about women, and for women, I expected to see a clear influence from feminism. When looking at the Regency romances, Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester, Barbara Cartland’s The Wicked Marquis and Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I, I found little change between the decades. This was expected as the genre aims to romanticise a specific time period. More surprisingly, I found that contemporary romance novels such as Perry Lindsay’s No Nice Girl, Charlotte Lamb’s Temptation, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Kiss and Angel [sic], did not show clear signs of a feminist influence progressing over time. In fact, the oldest novel was the most challenging toward patriarchal ideals. The newer novels had a heavier focus on sex, but the characters and themes were often based on traditional gender norms. As a whole, I have not found that the feminist movement has clearly impacted the romance genre.