The Power of Popular Romance Culture: Community, Fandom, and Sexual Politics

Ohio University
Publication year

Here's the abstract:

The following study uses a feminist ethnographic approach to explore the relationship between the romance genres, feminism, and fandom, as well as how women are experiencing and sharing romance novels in their everyday lives. Furthermore, this study tackles the nature of the cultural stigma against the romance genres, and how readers and writers navigate and respond to said stigma. The goal of this study was to highlight and explore the significance of gynocentric narratives in popular culture, as well as the nature of gynocentric participatory culture. Readers and writers understand the cultural stigma that surrounds romance novels in the context of cultural misogyny and literary elitism in the publishing world. The enduring appeal of romance novels for readers and writers is characterized by romance novels as spaces of hope, optimism and escape; as spaces of feminist resistance within an increasingly neoliberal, or individualistic, patriarchal culture; and as texts that explore and celebrate female subjectivity and sexuality. Furthermore, romance novels, as gynocentric participatory spaces, resist publishing industry standards and literary elitism, blur the producer-consumer binary, and champion a model of feminist ethics and care over a competitive hierarchal value system.