Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Psychology; Gender and Sexuality Studies
Project Advisor 1
Romance novels are often criticized by feminists and critics for promoting traditional, patriarchal values that constrain women to domestic roles and for encouraging unrealistic romantic beliefs. I did a content analysis of short romance stories written by amateur writers on a site called Wattpad. I examined gender stereotypes in the heroines and the presence of the heterosexual script, specifically studying warmth, competence, and romantic assertiveness. I additionally explored the endings and the characteristics of the “other woman” (antagonist). Heroines were rated as warm, competent, and romantically passive; the vast majority of the stories had happy endings. I also discovered that other women were cold, neither incompetent nor competent, romantically assertive, and that there were negative reactions to their sexual behavior. These findings indicate that heroines are not stereotypically warm and weak but that they do follow the heterosexual script and that the other women may be criticized for breaking the script.
Open Access Agreement
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Sorenson, Tanya Lee, "How Traditional is the Romance? Heroines, Stereotypes, and the Heterosexual Script" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 339.
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