Romancing Feminism: From Women's Studies To Women's Fiction

Document Type

Journal Article




Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science / Social Justice Research Centre




Reid Boyd, E. J. (2014). Romancing feminism: From women's studies to women's fiction. Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, 3(3), 263-272. Available here


After more than a decade as a feminist researcher and teaching women’s studies at tertiary level, I decided to investigate a new direction. Driven in part by the demise of women’s studies in universities – an international phenomenon – and looking for something completely different, I attended my first Romance Writers of Australia conference. To my surprise, the scene was all too familiar: predominantly female participants and presenters, a collaborative leadership model, a supportive atmosphere and lots of purple. In this article I muse upon arguments that romance is a form of feminism. Going back to its history in the Middle Ages and its invention by noblewomen who created the notion of courtly love, examining its contemporary popular explosion and the concurrent rise of popular romance studies in the academy that has emerged in the wake of women’s studies, and positing an empowering female future for the genre, I propose that reading and writing romantic fiction is not only personal escapism, but also political activism. Now also a published romance novelist, I chart my own Harlequin Escape from the ivory tower to the boudoir.' (Publication summary)

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