Can Romance Novels Occupy a Progressive Space within Feminism?

Document Type


Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


Mara Faulkner, English


Despite the tremendous success of romance novels in literature markets, the romance genre has been largely excluded from academic study. In an effort to examine romance novels with a feminist lens and uncover their academic value, I identified that significant progressive change in alignment with feminist agendas has taken place in the romance genre, largely in response to the concerns of women readers. We can see the conversations driving the genre forward taking place in online romance blogs, where communities of romance readers ask questions, discuss the best way to approach sensitive topics, and analyze the development of trends within the genre. Thus, I have determined that the romance genre acts as a textual space for women to sort out their feminist politics and think critically about the rapid social change occurring in their own lives. Examining women's responses to the romance genre will work to reveal women's responses to real life change.