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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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That such characters often find themselves to be victims of thee aggression and almost always resign themselves to accepting conventional roles in life has less to do, Radway argues, with the women readers’ fantasies and choices than with their need to deal with a fear of masculine dominance.

Unknown November 19, at Radway cites the work of Nancy Chodorowwho speculates that because women maintain “an intense emotional commitment to her mother and all that is female” which in tje informs their desire to “regress into infancy” radwya dependency in order to reclaim that nurturing relationship p. Regardless, Radway argues, several of the ideal romances showed that many women viewed the romance not simply as the tale of a woman who is successful in love but also as the story of a brutish or distant man who is transformed into an idealized mate by the romahce of a woman; this allows them to vicariously demand that men become more trustworthy and accommodating to female feelings and needs.

These romance readers resent not only the limited choices in their own lives but the patronizing atitude that men especially express toward their reading tastes.

WGS Summary of “Women Read the Romance” by Janice Radway

Moreover, the Smithton women were more likely to recall the events that happened in a story as opposed to the characters’ names p. However, the reading activity still takes female attention away from their family and their relationship with their husbands, leading them geading put the books aside if they come into conflict.

In general, if readers cannot identify rasway a character or see them as someone to live vicariously through they are less likely to enjoy the romance. University of North Carolina Press. Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature is a book by Janice Radway that seeks to explore the relationship that female readers have with mass market romance novels from a critical cultural perspective.

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.

Dot Jaice was almost 50 years radwau when the s interviews were conducted by janoce Janice Radway. Radway summarizes the history of romance novel publishing in the United States, concluding that economic demands dictated a system in which ideal audiences for novels were selected ahead of time rather than engage in complex and expensive advertising.

Nagaranij10g8 M March 27, at 7: Similar to Joseph Campbell ‘s understanding of the classic myths and the “hero’s journey’, it is not so much what happens as how it happens; these frameworks provide familiarity and comfort to the audience. The goal with these lines was to reduce uncertainty and increase the predictability of sales without having to find a new audience tomance each book – if women knew what to expect from the line of novels, they would know what to expect from the new one.

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

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 important.

According to Radway, while romances begin in a place of self-actualization and champion individualism in women, they are written by women who have been socialized into a patriarchal standard in which they must be mothering; therefore, the romance does not necessarily declare that individualism is without worth but it rather champions a form of female identity “demanded by patriarchal parenting arrangements” p.

Romance readers, she argues, should be encouraged to deliver their protests in the arena of actual social relations rather than to act them out in the solitude of the imagination. Radway suggests that there may be a lack of such feelings in the women’s lives that drives them to consume such media.

Access to Document Link to publication in Scopus. Moreover, the Smithton readers reject promiscuity and other forms of non-traditional romance or love that does not derive from genuine commitment and attraction; they also tend not to enjoy romances involving individuals who are not the main characters or romances that have unhappy endings that reject the notion of idealized romance. Through her study of the Smithton women who shared the common experience of reading romance novels, Radway discovered several common characteristics.

Radway emphasizes the idea of a happy, satisfying ending as well as the struggle of the heroine, who often, if not always, lives in a state of weakness in a patriarchal society. Despite their intelligence, the ideal heroine of a romance, Radway states, must also be “innocent” and naive to the ways of sexuality and remain aloof and detached in terms of attracting sexual attention while also being sexually attractive; they can only shed this image in the context of a sexual encounter with a male lover.

The way that the stories are written also has a significant impact on the creation of identity and the construction of meaning; Radway points out that “repetitive use of the same, limited vocabulary” leads to faster reader comprehension and also facilitates the reader to make quick sense of other entrants into the romance genre by creating frames the reader can then apply to those stories.

In this section, Radway seeks to find out how much of the perspective and values associated with womanhood in the romance novels makes its way to the real world. Retrieved from ” http: However, if readers are seeking more benign and less extreme forms of masculinity radwa may react negatively to depictions of the forms of masculine power they reject.

Radway suggests that this allows women to relive periods in their life where they were nurtured and vared for by an individual that was signularly devoted to their welfare essentially reclaiming their childhood and parental relationships. Radway notices that the women make assumptions about authorial intent when it comes to the words written within the book, believing that the author chooses words that mean what they say they mean; as a result romancee are not skeptical about the words chosen or what they may represent or the significance that the author themselves assigns to a word as a signifier.

Radway herself expresses preference for reader-response criticism throughout the course of the book, as opposed to the popular new criticism during the s. It is for this reason that readers feel betrayed or let down when a romance does not live up to the story promised on its cover or contains material with which the yare personally uncomfortable.

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Newer Post Older Post Home. 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.

Reading the Romance – Wikipedia

In fact, women read romances both to protest and to escape temporarily the narrowly defined role prescribed for them by a patriarchal culture. Link to citation list in Scopus. This too would explain why so many of the readers admitted to reading the last page first – they wanted to be sure that the story upheld its bargain in upkeeping the valorous or mythic elements they were used to. Paradoxically, the books that they read make conventional roles for women seem desirable.

Still others may take a more ambiguous approach if they study how narratives are formed over time. Examining the context in which romance novel reading originates can tell more about the qualities of the text and the power of ideology as it goes through this particular lens. Reading may be used for “combative” purposes or “compensatory” ones, depending on the reader and where and when they are reading p. Publishers set out to create lines of novels that were known quantities among these groups, controlling the production and creating a set formula that was facilitated by new binding and production technologies allowing for more books to be published faster.

These realistic characteristics are balanced with the admission by those who read romance novels that the stories are fantasies unreflected in reality; however, this is not indicative of the stories themselves so much as it is that the women may not perceive their lives to live up to the ideals present in the novels.

AB – 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. In this way the observer becomes important: What urge drives women to escape into romance novels?

Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature. 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. Continued exposure to these messages also has more direct impacts on the reader. Radway suggests that these romances are often depressing or less female-positive than others or may contain degrading sexual scenes, and that women may see the rejection of such stories as a form of “safe protest against certain kinds of patriarchal treatment of women” that would not jeopardize their social relationships.

Radway begins Reading the Romance with a look at the publishing industry for romance novels. Radway’s provocative approach combines reader-response criticism with anthropology and janide psychology. 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.

Romance reading, in Radway’s view, allows the reader to obtain “emotional sustenance” without threatening the power relationship in their marriage relationship.