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Dangerous Young Men: Themes of Female Sexuality and Masculinity in Paranormal Romance Novels for Young Adults

Patterns of masculine and feminine portrayals can be found everywhere, yet one place sociologists tend not to look is in novels. Young adult novels have generated 27 million dollars in e-books alone in 2011, with paranormal romances and dystopian genres making up the majority of the sales (Scott, 2013). Understanding these novels is sociologically important because they are reaching wider audiences with their adaptation into Hollywood blockbusters. While the novels demonstrate stronger characteristics given to women, the messages about the ideal male in the novel often reflects one who is putting the female in danger. A content analysis of ten popular paranormal young adult novels demonstrates patterns of the construction of gender. Drawing on Radway’s (1984) analysis of romance novels and Connell’s, (2005) and hook’s (2004) theories of masculinities, this paper explores the messages in paranormal fiction geared to a mainly young adult female reading audience. My preliminary findings demonstrate thus far that these books reflect unhealthy ideas about relationships, violence, the body, and sexuality. The novels portray masculine bodies as hard, dangerous, and seductive. They also share a storyline consisting of the fear of getting killed by someone they are in love with.
Date January 2014
CreatorsRussell, Shannon
ContributorsMcLaughlin, Mireille
PublisherUniversité d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
Source SetsUniversité d’Ottawa
Detected LanguageEnglish

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