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I know that Janice Radway's article,"Women Read the Romance:The interaction of Text and Context" was written almost 27 years ago in 1983.Therefore,many social,cultural and political improvements have been made in the lives of many women.Interestingly,if some women are experiencing tenderness and relationship issues in their marriages or homes as the Smithton readers seemed to have indicated from the article,why remain in such relationships in the first place especially if nothing is working to improve the relationships?
Also,I'm wondering how reading a fairy tale or fantasy that ends up happily can really,truly create a form of "escape" for some women especially since I'm not a woman? I may be wrong,but it's like running from your leaking house to live in someone else's house for a night or a few hours only to return to the same leaking house.Why not solve the leakage problem and live happily ever after in your own home rather than continuously running away momentarily?

From Sean:
"After reading Radway's article "Women Read the Romance: The
Interaction of Text and Context," I found the statistics of these
women and their overall identity to be interesting. The overall
characteristic we receive about these women is that they are middle
aged, married, suburban, house wives and mothers. These do not seem
like the type of women I would assume to read Romance novels and yearn
for this type of companionship. Today is a different time for women
than when the article was written, 1983. I think women of that era
were almost forced into marriage at a rather uncomfortable age and
really did not get to explore the world as some women do today. I
think women today do not feel under as much pressure from family and
also a significant other to get married. Women are also highly
involved in the work place unlike some women of the early eighties. I
believe most women today, generally speaking, get married when they
feel comfortable. Has the urge for romance amongst women of this
lifestyle depicted in the article changed due to the improved culture
for women in the U.S.?"

As I was reading through this article I found it rather interesting that the demographic for these romance novels are middle aged stay at home mothers. It seemingly fits with the question of why these particular women are reading these books? Could it be they are missing something from their real life, such as affection from their husbands, and therefore need to read these books to fulfill the voids?
I know this article was written in the 1980's which brings up the issue of how back then they did not have the high technology to escape to.I find a similar correlation to today's society. Now to escape the uncertainties of our everyday life we have video games, movies, internet, etc..whereas 25 years ago pretty much the only form of escape these women had were the romance novels. So based on all that do you think today's technologies have influenced how we escape our everyday troubles?

Romance is just another form of fiction. If it isn't fiction then it can serve the same purpose of creative non-fiction in that it's a true story told in a creative way. Either way this genre serves as a mode of escape just like any other does it not? However the real difference is the reason that readers are trying to escape. Can it be seen as a form a medication in an otherwise imperfect world? Escaping from momentary hardships into a world where those same hardships do not exist provides a sympathetic feeling that may not be provided in the real world. However, if that escape becomes an individual's mode of coping with reality in a real productive manner/hindering them from taking positive action, then the escape simply provides an extremely destructible and degradable momentary patch. Upon realizing that, the shit in ones real world is going to hurt worse when the escape is decoded for what it really is and no longer works. So could it be that an escape in the form of romance novels is healthy if properly understood?

It's interesting to me that these woman use the word escape. It seems like people use all sorts of media texts to escape the reality of their lives. In the article on page 47 it states " These few comments all hint at a certain sadness that many of the Smithton women seem the share because life has not given them all that it once promised. A deep-seated promise sense of betrayal also lurks behind their deceptively simple expression of a need to believe in a fairy tale". Do you think that is why Americans have so many issues within themselves regarding their reality, they lost in the fairy tale and life becomes one big deception? All because media told us "this is what life is suppose to be".

Is Janice Radway saying that if we didn't live in a patriarchal society and gender roles were different, women wouldn't need romance novels anymore? Since the article was written in the early eighties and the way women are living their lives is different, does this weaken Radway's argument in any way? Lastly, is it possible that women read these stories not so much because they want that kind of man but because they want to be that kind of woman?

I feel as though some of the questions that I have after reading "Women Read the Romance" have already been asked. But I will add that I am curious to know if the way romance novels are written today reflect those that were popular when this article was written because a lot has changed in the way society acknowledges women. Do women still hold the same ideals of what a good romance novel is now as they did then?

After reading these pieces I couldn't help but relate romance novels to reality tv. My questions are comparing the two. Right now there are a lot of haters of reality tv, was their equal amount of haters when romance novels first came about? and were romance novels proportionately popular as reality tv today?

After reading Janice Radway's article and looking over some of the other discussion questions that have been posted, I am noticing that a lot of people don't get why these women are reading these romance novels to "escape". I am a victim of the twilight saga and know exactly what it's like to get captured by these types of love stories, it's like a type of fantasy world. So I think that they probably are escaping and fantasizing about a world that they know doesn't exist, the types of things written in the novels are written to be so outrageous that they will capture an audience. I am now wondering why it's so appealing to the general population of romance novel readers to escape to these unnatural settings? Is it because we are unhappy about how the real world is around us currently? ie. Do we think that our current society is an undesirable place or is it because of something more personal that exists in each women's personal life? I would have to admit it's a little bit of both for me but it would be interesting to hear how others feel about this topic.

Although Radways piece was written in the 80's and there have been a lot of improvements and advancements, there are still ways to escape reality today, in fact there are a lot more ways than just romance novels. Do you think that with the amount of things we use to escape from reality are affecting our lives negatively or positively? I guess I am wondering if there can be such a thing as consuming too much fantasy or escape from reality.

so in the article it said the demographic that read the romance novels where middle aged women, what i am wandering is if they renamed the books and marketed them for men would the demographic change? or would women still find and read the books more than men?

In the second article, the author describes how the relationship between Bianca and Lena was largely not shown onscreen. Their relationship was limited to a few kisses and "looking at each other" while heterosexual relationships are usually very explicit and graphic. I'm not saying that explicitness is good, but there is definitely a double standard when it comes to homosexual relationships being shown on TV. How long will it take for this double standard to go away, or will it ever go away?

I thought the first article about romance books was very interesting. It is dated with interviews from the 80's so I wonder if romance novels still have the same affect on women today? Also, how did these book affect women? I know it gave them an escape into a romantic fantasy world, along with false hope, could it have caused rebellion? Or how come it did not lead to rebellion with so many avid readers and fed up mothers? Can the authors of these romance books relate to their demographics or could it be that this is solely an excuse and scapegoat for men/husbands?

The fact that the word 'escape' was used makes me wonder. It's been known that girls have been plummeted into ideologies of fairy-tales since we were young (we can thank Walt Disney for that one). I just never used to look at romance novels as a way to 'escape reality'. Also, these days there are far more ways to escape reality, do you think that is effecting society negatively? Or does it provide people with more creativity and positivity?

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This page contains a single entry by Melody published on December 7, 2011 1:55 PM.

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