Romance Novels Empower Us

Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained by Maya Rodale

Between all the bodice ripping, swooning over hot dukes and happy endings, romance novels haven’t always been considered feminist. And yet no other stories so relentlessly declare that women deserve the starring role in a story, that they are beautiful no matter what they look like, that they can be independent women and still find love, enjoy sexual pleasure without shame, and be rewarded for being their true selves. What’s more feminist than that?”

“Long before clinch covers and bodice rippers, romance novels had a bad reputation as the lowbrow lit of desperate housewives and hopeless spinsters. But why were these books-the escape and entertainment of choice for millions of women-singled out for scorn and shame?

Dangerous Books for Girls examines the secret history of the genre’s bad reputation-from the “damned mob of scribbling women” in the nineteenth century to the sexy mass-market paperbacks of the twentieth century-and shows how romance novels have inspired and empowered generations of women to dream big, refuse to settle, and believe they’re worth it.

For every woman who has ever hidden the cover of a romance-and every woman who has been curious about those “Fabio books”-Dangerous Books For Girls shows why there’s no room for guilt when reading for pleasure.”

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