Reading the Romance. Women, Piz~n’archy, a d Popular Lzterature. J A N I C E A.. R A D W A Y. With a Nav Intmductwn by the Author fiQ1). The University of. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature [Janice A. Radway] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Originally. Women Read the Romance: The Interaction of Text and Context. Author(s): Janice A. Radway. Reviewed work(s). Source: Feminist Studies, Vol. 9, No.

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Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

In this way the observer becomes important: Rather than being a means for sexual gratification, many women used romance novels simply to seek romacne stories about “mutual love” with heroes readig possessed the ability to “express [their] devotion gently and with concern for his heroine’s pleasure” p. Essentially, the romance is part of a culture that creates “needs in women that it cannot fulfill”; yet, the ability to vicariously fulfill these needs makes the romance a powerful genre and leads to “repetitive consumption” by women p.

The women assume that the information about these events was placed in the book by the author when she selected certain words in favor of others. The heroines admired by Radway’s group defy the expected stereotypes; they are strong, independent, and romancf. Note the position of the female and the prominence and power of the male figure.

Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature — Northwestern Scholars

Abstract Originally published inReading the Romance challenges popular and often demeaning myths about why romantic fiction, one of publishing’s most lucrative categories, captivates millions of women readers. Women also often feel uncomfortable spending money on the romance novels though they recognize that their husbands and family members spend money on their interests; the subject matter and imagery on the covers may also create what the readers feel are false impressions that they are reading the books for sexual gratification.

Access to Document Link to publication in Scopus. However, if readers are seeking more benign and less extreme forms of masculinity they may react negatively to depictions of the forms of masculine power they reject. Radway invokes elements of the superwoman myth by suggesting that women are expected to not only uphold familial and homemaking duties but to do so without a significant amount of “reproduction” or support; women, by comparison, offer these services to men p.


Romsnce plainly states that simply reducing the practice of book buying to a relationship between the book and its audience leaves out the institutional and economic concerns of book publish and distribution. Radway, JAReading the Romance: Radway puts the onus for these feelings of guilt on a society which prizes work more highly than it prizes recreation, as well as a society that both champions female sexuality as a selling point while still being cautious or restrictive about it in any other context.

Asking readers themselves to explore their reading motives, habits, and rewards, she conducted interviews in a midwestern town with forty-two romance readers whom she met through Dorothy Evans, a janive bookstore employee who has earned a reputation as an expert on romantic fiction.

Moreover, while the female must be virginal and naive, the male is expected to have multiple sexual encounters to make his transition toward desiring the heroine more powerful. Radway begins Reading the Romance with a look at the publishing industry for romance novels. As the women read the romance which provides them with the ideas and relationships they crave they reinforce existing patriarchal standards which in turn uphold those relationships as valid and thr.

Therefore, the romance creates a “utopian state” in which men are “neither cruel nor indifferent” nor fomance to engage in a relationship romanxe a woman and the paternal relationship can still exist p. Taking this into account, Radway contends that the ideal romance tells the narrative tale of women becoming actualized females as defined by society; the romance shows them “how to achieve emotional fulfillment” in a culture where most men are indifferent to their needs p.

Reading The Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

Regardless, by engaging in the reading of romances women nonetheless engage in subversive activity, though it is activity that is legitimated by societal and patriarchal values.

However, the reading activity still takes female attention away from their family and their relationship with their husbands, leading them to put the books aside if they come into conflict. The romance teaches women how to live in a patriarchal society and “displays the remarkable benefits of conformity” p. This article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject.

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Radway brings together several of the threads discussed so far to summarize the critical impact of the romance novel. Views Read Edit View history. Unlike their husbands, who had not been raised as nor did they evolve into nurturers, romantic heroes were able to express emotional closeness and connectivity. Radway explains this further with this excerpt:.

Understanding why women choose these novels becomes the focus of Radway’s work.

Moreover, Radway suggests that the rejection of some forms of romance books and the perceived degradation of women within them suggests that assuming all female readers read all romance novels is disingenuous. The women preferred stories with strong male leads, which also reaffirmed traditional gender roles of male strength; at the same time, however, the men were not prized for their individual characteristics but rather for their role in relation to the heroine.

We know from the article that Dot was extremely bright and articulate.

Wikipedia articles needing context from February All Wikipedia articles needing context Wikipedia introduction cleanup from February All pages needing cleanup. Paradoxically, the books that they read make conventional roles for women seem desirable. This too would explain why so many of the readers admitted to reading the last page first – they wanted to be rexding that the story upheld its bargain in upkeeping the valorous or mythic elements they were used to.

They also sought out stories that were unquestionably about women and relationships in which both involved grew and worked together to reach a happy ending. She also argues that feminists and other scholars cannot look merely at the texts themselves but must also look critically at who is buying them, why, and what societal forces and market requirements are pushing the media forward.