Readers of Romance novels
Readers of romance novels are inclusive of a cross section of all individuals in a society in terms of age, level of education, marital status, and their economic status. However, the biggest share in percentage of romance readers is females. Half of romance novels readers have gone through college education and have full time employment outside their places of residence. Many of them are in the middle class in terms of financial position, and they do not watch much of television. Although people in all ages read romances, forty-four percent of them are between the ages of thirty-one and forty-nine and about fifty-eight percent of all readers are in marriages or widowed. Hence, romance readers today are generally educated, older and wealthier individuals, and not the uneducated, unknowledgeable unhappy stay at home mothers or wives as is indicated in myths.
Non-readers of Romance Novels
Among those who do not read these romantic novels but offer opinions on romances are some authors, feminists, literary critics, and individuals who prefer other forms of art and entertainment. Some writers view romance novels as cultural artifacts instead of works of literature, and claim that there is no art in them. Other people prefer other forms of entertainment like music and films but are aware of the existence of romance novels. Those with negative attitude toward romantic novels say the readers of romances are in pursuit of filling emptiness in their lives, they claim that many women use the books to try to compensate the attention and validation they lack in their lives. They also claim that romances are anti feminist since they display females as powerless and passive.
Type of Dissatisfaction in Romance Novels in Radway’s Study
According to the study carried out by Radway, women belonging to the middle class read romantic fiction so that they can fulfill the needs that have not been met by their marriages and various responsibilities they have in their day-to-day lives. They read romance due to dissatisfactions arising from demands, constrictions, and roles related to their gender that are assigned to them. This is particularly to women whose marriages are falling, and or unsatisfying or abusive marriages or other submissive relationships. They resort to romances as an imaginary outlet to them and their dissatisfactions. Most of the women are sad due to the reason that life has not turned out to be how they expected it to be, and according to the promises they had received. They feel betrayed by the fact that they were deceived into believing that life is a fairly tale. The study showed that women are unhappy that their selfless hard work in taking care of their families is not rewarded in any way by their partners despite all the devotion they put in nurturing their families. They therefore resort to reading romances not only as a way to run away from the exhausting duties of their daily lives, but also to seek the superior man who provide care, attention, and admiration that they do not expect to receive from their husbands. The women are not happy that in their lives they have few choices since they have to stay back at home and take care of their families. The demeaning altitude of their husbands on their selected tastes of reading also makes them unhappy. They hence read romantic novels to protest and escape from the way culture has set narrow based roles to them in the society.