Superwomen, Latte Dads and Feminist Alphas: Negotiations on Feminism in Contemporary Swedish Popular Romance Novels

Publication year
Journal of Popular Romance Studies

Here's the abstract:

During the 2010s, popular romance has emerged as a popular genre in Sweden. Popular romance is often criticized on account of its perceived gender conservatism. In Sweden – a country that prides itself on being at the forefront of progressive gender politics – the genre has however become promoted as feminist, and Sweden is represented as an especially beneficial context for the emergence of a (more) feminist popular romance. For this article I analyze a selection of Swedish contemporary romance novels, released between 2014-2019. Taking the feminist critique into account, I analyze how these novels negotiate genre conventions in an effort to produce (more) feminist love stories, and how these local variants of a global genre relate to the feminism of the Swedish context and the Swedish self-image. The novels, I argue, are permeated by a Swedish gender equality discourse; one that focuses on heterosexual couples who fulfill themselves equally in relation to both family and work life. The novels both challenge and uphold gendered inequalities and criticized romance tropes. They further produce different representations of Sweden, sometimes representing Sweden as only superficially equal and other times as a country where equality is already almost in place.

I added the LGBTQ+ tag primarily because of a novel which is mentioned only briefly, but it seems important to romance history:

Nordic Harlequin – established already in 1979 – released their first romance novel ever originally written in Swedish: a historical lesbian romance, called Kärlek på öppet hav [Love at Open Seas, Olofsdotter]. (5)