Date of Submission

Spring 2014

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Psychology; Gender and Sexuality Studies

Project Advisor 1

Kristin Lane

Abstract/Artist's Statement

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

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.

Bard Off-campus Download

Bard College faculty, staff, and students can login from off-campus by clicking on the Off-campus Download button and entering their Bard username and password.