Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Keller

Second Advisor

Dr. Colin Charlton

Third Advisor

Dr. Alyssa Cavazos


Romance novel readers and authors often face shaming by those who have power/influence over them; namely the popular media and academic community, who claim the genre is sexist and formulaic. Because of this, women are made to feel guilty for enjoying romance. However, by applying Krista Ratcliffe’s rhetorical listening technique to Janet Radway’s ethnography, Reading the Romance, select romance novel texts, and interviews with ten romance authors, we discover that the romance novel genre is more complex than it gets credit for. Romance novels can be empowering and provide solidarity among readers and between readers and authors. Through the reading and writing of romance, romance readers and authors can find the strength to fight the injustices in their lives. Shaming women for enjoying romance shows a faulty understanding of the genre and is marginalizing for these women. Thus the shaming of romance readers and authors should stop.


Copyright 2016 Kathryn M. O’Neil. All Rights Reserved.