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COWBOYS AND SCHOOLTEACHERS: GENDER IN ROMANCE NOVELS, SECULAR AND CHRISTIAN

LAURA CLAWSON
Sociological Perspectives
Vol. 48, No. 4 (Winter 2005), pp. 461-479
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/sop.2005.48.4.461
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sop.2005.48.4.461
Page Count: 19
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COWBOYS AND SCHOOLTEACHERS: GENDER IN ROMANCE NOVELS, SECULAR AND CHRISTIAN
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Abstract

This article uses content analysis of 120 novels to consider romance novels as evidence for a particular culture of gender and the family, and as a means of comparing cultural representations of secular and Christian masculinity, femininity, and families. It finds that, although on the surface the texts are most obviously differentiated by religion, gender differences within the religious categories are greater than overall differences between those categories themselves. The most interesting and significant difference between secular and Christian romances emerges in the male hero. Specifically, this analysis finds that secular men are depicted as overwhelmingly strong, economically and physically, but that this strength is frequently overcome by the emotional strength of the heroine, who tames them. Christian heroes, on the other hand, are less overpowering figures at the beginning of the texts but are more dominant within the relationship, subject instead to the will of God.

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