Sara Kolmes
Florida State University
Romance novels are primarily aimed at, written about, and written for women. They have been accused of being fantasies which feature sexually objectified heroines who are passive recipients of overwhelming masculine sexual energy. After shoring up these critiques of romance novels with A.W. Eaton’s account of how art can objectify its subjects, we examine a challenge to romance novels: does the sexual content in romance novels objectify its heroines? There is strong reason to think so. However, we argue that careful attention to the ways art can objectify its subject reveals that romance novels are structured to make it impossible for their heroines to be objectified. In many cases, individual signs of objectification are raised as possible outcomes and dismissed as part of the plot of a romance novel. Satisfying sex in a romance novel does not appear until it is impossible for the romantic heroine to be objectified. Understood in this way, romance novels serve as a model for one way that objectification could be avoided. The fantasy of a romance novel is not objectifying sex. It is sex free of objectification.
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DOI 10.1093/jaac/kpaa004
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References found in this work BETA

Objectification.Martha C. Nussbaum - 1995 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (4):249-291.
What is Objectification?Lina Papadaki - 2010 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (1):16-36.

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