Lesbian Romance Novels and the Representation of Female U.S. Presidency

Abstract

Romance novels frequently draw on popular tropes that are trending in a variety of textual forms to influence their plots, themes, or subgenres. Additionally, political novels of all genres and subgenres have been popular for quite some time. However, since the 1990s, many of these novels have hypothesized what might happen if a woman were elected president of the United States. Romance novels have depicted this possibility, too, but the most notable examples have been in the subgenre of lesbian romance. This presentation will look at several examples of these texts. The texts will be explored in conversation with comparative texts on the same subject in an effort to explore how these representations differ, what their thematic purpose is, and what the genre and authorship of the works has to say about the topic being explored. This piece will ground itself in feminist theory, textual analysis, political science, and will make extensive use of the work of Phyllis M. Betz, author of Lesbian Romance Novels: A History and Critical Analysis. By exploring just who is authoring texts on the topic of female U.S. presidency as well as how genre informs that representation, this project will hopefully demonstrate that the lesbian romance genre is a space where exploring what might otherwise be a controversial idea is granted legitimacy and normalization

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