Exploring the Portrayal of Black Women and Their Sexuality in Romance Novels

  • Brionni A. McGriff (Iowa State University)


This session explores the portrayal of African American women in modern literature, specifically in romance literature. It will examine portrayals of African American women both in mainstream romance literature and in romance literature marketed toward African American readers. We will explore black feminist theory as developed by Patricia Hill Collins and the work of Janice Radaway and Pamela Regis to gain foundational understanding on the genre of romance novels as a whole. The data for this study is based on content analysis of the three top-selling romance novels marketed toward African American women readers. The theories of Collins and other literary critics will be used to examine the roles the women play and their portrayals with these novels and how these novels are reflective of the ideas of society as a whole.



Published on
05 Mar 2009
Peer Reviewed