Shelf Love

096. Scientific Proof of the Romance Reader Stereotype (Finally)

Short Description

Proving once and for all, using science, the truth of the romance reader stereotype. Warning: this research is about how romance novels and readers are perceived, not the actual reality.


audience reception, original scholarship, video available, romance scholarship

Show Notes

Proving once and for all, using science, the truth of the romance reader stereotype. Warning: this research is about how romance novels and readers are perceived, not the actual reality. 

Show Notes:

Shelf Love:

Inside: Stereotype Content Model, Cognitive Dissonance, Susan Fiske, Social Psychology, Leon Festinger, Dan Ariely, and more.


Andrea Martucci: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to episode 96 of Shelf Love, a podcast that unpacks romance novels with nuance. In conversations with scholars, readers, and other experts. Shelf Love contextualizes, the popular romance genre within the broader critical discussion of identity culture, and love.

I'm Andrea Martucci host of Shelf Love. This is the last episode of season two, and I could not wrap it up without sharing the research I did earlier in 2021 and presented at the Pop Culture Association in June. This version of the presentation is almost verbatim what I prepared for my 15 minute presentation. Because of the time limits I let my slides convey a good amount of information as I flew through it. So for this podcast version of it, I'm going to slow that down, just a smidge, and describe what was on my slides. Since you obviously can't see it. If you'd prefer to view the video version of the presentation, you can find that on Shelf Love's YouTube channel, and I'll drop the link to that in the show notes.

I'm so excited to share season three with all of you and you'll get all the details in the official season three launch next episode. So again, really excited to share that with you. Without further ado. Let me jump in to the research.


Andrea Martucci: So the title of my presentation was Will Bridgerton Change Popular Perceptions of Romance Novels and Create New Romance readers. The short answer is that it depends, but I'm going to give a slightly longer and more nuanced answer over the course of the rest of this presentation.

In my experience, a significant amount of romance community discourse begins with the assumption that there is a negative stereotype against romance readers as a group. This idea is basically accepted as fact. And when Bridgerton, a romance novel adaptation was released as a bingeable Shondaland, Netflix spectacular, I observed that the massive success also led some to believe that newfound respect for the romance genre would follow alongside an influx of new readers.

I was dubious. However, I also became curious.

I want to pause there and explain what was on my slides at this point in time. So this slide says romance readers vindicated at last question mark, and I have screenshots of four tweets up here and next to it, a screenshot from Book Riot and the article from Book Riot is called What to Read After Watching and Loving Bridgerton on Netflix from Allison Doherty published on January 5th, 2021.

And the tweets on the side one says, "Hey, romance readers. What's the best romance you've read lately. Bridgerton has me wondering if I should dip into the genre."

The next tweet says "Someone who used to make fun of me for my romance novel obsession is now all Ooh, Bridgerton. And now she may suck it. Vindicated bodice ripper readers rise."

And then another one says " I'm not shocked that Bridgerton was snubbed by the Golden [00:03:00] Globes because it's based off of romance novels, and people still judge romance novels as frivolous and to the readers of romance novels as unimportant. Hashtag Bridgerton."

And the last one says "Mainstream media. I am begging you to let historical romance reader slash writers write your hashtag Bridgerton reviews. Even the positive ones by people who don't read the genre fall into using the word trash to stand in for fun and targeted to women."

So I decided that I was going to answer two questions in my research. The first question is how can the stereotypes about romance readers be categorized and validated? The second question is, will negatively valence stereotypes discourage new readers from reading romance. That is, will the stereotype provide enough friction to prevent behavior change?

So it seemed that I needed to collect some data to answer these questions. Bridgerton conveniently created the opportunity to find and study new romance readers. So this spring in 2021, I conducted three different surveys that gathered a total of 605 responses.

And I conducted seven one-on-one interviews with readers who had tried a Bridgerton novel, but had no or little previous experience with romance.

There are a lot of things that I could talk about with Bridgerton and I even collected data on some of those other things. I chose to start with stereotypes in this presentation because it's central to so many romance conversations and because it's salient in conversations about new readers.

Throughout this presentation, I'm not going to be talking about the content of Bridgerton or the facts of romance readers as a group. This presentation is about how romance novels and readers are perceived, not the actual reality.

Lots of people watched the Netflix adaptation of Bridgerton, which is based on a romance book series by Julia Quinn.

On this slide, I have two screenshots. One is from Vanity Fair and it's called How Bridgerton Officially Became Netflix's Biggest Hit Ever. And there's a little, call-out saying that it had 82 million viewers in the first month and the other screenshot is from Publishers Weekly. And the headline is Netflix's Hit Series Bridgerton Drives Book Sales.

In the weeks following the Netflix release, Julia Quinn's decades old Bridgerton novels topped best seller charts, publishers weekly reported that she sold 750,000 copies of books from the series in the first month after the Netflix debut.

Romance community discourse, which I observed on Twitter and through articles like Romances to Read After Bridgerton, seemed to assume that these were mostly net new romance readers, and they anticipated an influx of new romance readers who'd start reading other authors in the genre as the next step

I figured that at least some of those who bought a Bridgerton book were not already romance readers. And I tracked down about 70 of them to take my survey, to help understand how new romance readers [00:06:00] understand the stereotype and react to the stereotype if they perceive it.

So previous social science romance scholarship has studied how romance readers identify themselves and their experience and how readers and writers individually manage stigma associated with reading romance. And on my slide, I'm alluding to Reading the Romance, which was originally published in 1984 by Janice Radway. She is a sociologist and did an ethnography of romance readers.

So on this next slide, which is entitled the Media Romance, I have a quote from Jayashree Kamble in 2020 from the Routledge Research Companion to Popular Romance Fiction. And this is what it says, " one critic associates romance novels with readers who have little choice of reading matter, or lack intellect, time, and money. Romance novels are described by cultural elites as quote " carelessly written stories adored, I.E. loved without reason by women

Jayashree Kamble's theory of the media romance provided a jumping off point for my empirical study. The Media Romance is the idea that a false representation of the romance genre stands in for the reality of the genre in popular culture

In her work on the media romance, Kamble lays out specific examples from media representations and describes how they portray romance readers as almost universally women who lack agency, time, money, and intellect.

She is describing the content of the stereotype about romance readers and is exploring one cultural input, specifically media representations that are shaped by cultural elites that enable the stereotype to be widely understood and agreed upon across American society. And also in many other countries where America's cultural hegemony has left its mark.

The conceptions and perhaps misconceptions about romance readers are inextricably intermingled with how society views romance novels. So as part of my research, I asked participants to write three words that they associated with romance novels. This slide specifically focuses on responses from the new Bridgerton readers. And I just have visual representations of what I'm going to speak aloud.

62% of responses used a word I coded as describing poor quality stories and bad writing.

This included words like trash, light, sappy, cliche, formulaic. 15% used the exact same word: cheesy. One response really summed up the general zeitgeist of these comments. The three words they chose were "trashy, feminine, bad," and 25% indicated romance novels were unrealistic using the word unrealistic and wish fulfillment.

So now let's see what words are used to describe romance readers. Again, these are responses from the new Bridgerton readers, and 41% of them use at least one word associated with women.

Other common themes described romance readers, using words like emotional, unrealistic, romantic, and bored.

Because [00:09:00] romance novels are understood to be mindless and unrealistic, this creates the perception that readers who prefer this content must be incapable of reading substance and are therefore intellectually lacking.

By contrast existing readers made a point in their version of this survey to identify words like smart, intelligent, thoughtful, voracious reader, likely in a self-conscious effort to combat the associations about being mindless.

So now I'm going to back up and talk about stereotypes. What is a stereotype? Stereotypes are a type of schema studied within social psychology. Stereotypes are category based responses, which means that the individual reacts to another person as an interchangeable member of a social group. And on this slide, I have a quote saying "stereotypes embody a societal consensus, a collective belief system," and that's attributed to Stanger and Schaller in 1996.

The stereotype content model also known as SCM, and I sometimes will shorten it to SCM throughout this presentation, was developed by Susan Fiske and her colleagues and provides a taxonomy to identify the content and dynamics of the romance reader stereotype.

Diverging from previous social psychology research on stereotypes, which believed that they were binary, either good or bad, SCM identified that most stereotypes are complex and ambivalent with a smaller percentage of groups categorized as pure antipathy. So what I mean by that is basically Stereotype Content Model is a different way, a more nuanced way of looking at stereotypes as not just good and bad, but, most stereotypes really being a combination of good and bad things. I E ambivalent. They're kind of mixed. And, again, being more complex than just good, bad, and the smallest percentage of like bad, bad is pure antipathy, but that's not really where most stereotypes lie. And there's obviously also some stereotypes that are like good, good. And we reserve those for people who are like us. The in-group.

I believe that the strength of the SCM framework is that it also acknowledges and accounts for intersectional and contextual identities. People are marginalized for many reasons, uh, because of their gender, their race, their sexuality, ethnicity, social, or economic class to name a few, but different aspects of our identity become salient depending on the social context.

I believe that in the context of leisure activities like reading perceived cultural class becomes most salient with class markers correlating to status.

The SCM proposes and tests a comprehensive causal theory, perceived social structure based on the level of cooperation and status predicts a stereotype, which is a mixture of high or low warmth and competence. [00:12:00] which in turn predicts specific emotional prejudices, such as admiration, pity, contempt, or envy.

And finally the emotion predicts discrimination and discrimination would be active or passive help and harm.

Previous SCM research found that stereotypes about women tend to bifurcate into ambivalent stereotypes based on the perceived competition with men for resources and the level of cooperation within the socially dominant heterosexual family unit.

I would characterize this split as having cultural class implications, not just gender. So traditional women in air quotes, sometimes defined as Housewives, are assumed to cooperate within the hegemonic heterosexual family unit. They're associated with low status because they lack cultural power of their own and economic value of their own. They have to cooperate in the family unit to have access to that from their male partner in a heterosexual family unit. Therefore stereotypically, they are considered to have low competence because they have low power and low status.

The corresponding paternalistic prejudice means that they're liked, but they're not respected. And as a group, they are pitied. The predicted behavior towards this group is active facilitation and passive harm. I'll talk about that a little bit more later.

Based on the content of the Media Romance as discussed with Jayashree Kamble, I hypothesized that romance readers would fall within the high warmth and low competence quadrant and would be pitied. And the data I collected in my survey supports my hypothesis, that romance readers are categorized within that paternalistic stereotype.

So now I flashed on the screen, the Stereotype Content Model reference points. So we're looking at an X, Y axis and the X axis is competence. And we've got a one through five scale along the bottom, and then going up the side, we have warmth. And again, we have a scale of one through five. Basically the higher you rank in competence, the farther you are to the right, the lower in competence farther you are to the left, higher warmth, higher on the Y axis and lower in warmth, lower on the Y axis.

So what you see then is pity kind of in the top left corner, because it has high warmth and low competence. And then you see admire along the top to the right and below admire you see envy because envy is high competence, but lower warmth. And then the contempt quadrant is of closer to like where the X and Y axis meet.

What this looks like in actual numbers is the Stereotype Content Model that I referenced as sort of the starting point for this. It found that groups that were categorized as the paternalistic prejudice that people felt pity towards had a mean warmth score of four and a mean competence of 2.9.[00:15:00]

So now I've got my data up on the screen and I've got a little star over where my data fell and it's basically like right over the little face I have representing the pity quadrant. The Stereotype Content Model found that the pity quadrant was four in warmth and 2.9 in competence, my romance readers stereotype data found a warmth score of 3.63. So just 0.4 under Stereotype Content Model and a competence score of 2.5. So again, it's about like 0.4 under the reference, but the difference between the warmth and the competence is about 1.1, in my model and in the Stereotype Content Model.

My data is from one of the surveys that I d id called Society's View of Romance Readers. And this survey actually had 361 respondents. Now, this was actually a really important part of this is I didn't ask people how they felt about romance readers as a group.

I asked them to think about and answer how they believed romance readers were viewed by American society. So it kind of created that like level of separation where people who are not readers are really trying to project their understanding onto everybody else. And romance readers are being asked also to project, not what they think about romance readers, but how they believe American society feels about romance readers.

So this survey showed that romance readers mean socially perceived competence is lower than their perceived warmth, which was as predicted. The numbers from my study correspond very closely to those in the original Stereotype Content Model research. Importantly, there is a marked difference between competence variables and warmth variables, showing significantly lower competence than warmth and backing up that ambivalent stereotype hypothesis, meaning that one variable is high and the other variable is low.

So high in warmth, low in competence or vice versa.

I also segmented these responses based on self identification as a romance reader or not to see if their responses varied. Romance readers actually skewed slightly lower on assigning perceived mean competence, but their responses still basically support this hypothesis.

So the emotional response that correlated with romance readers was, as predicted, pity. That was the most common response across groups.

And I'm going to come back to how romance readers differed from non romance readers on this point later.

This data provides support for the idea that there is a shared stereotype of romance readers across American society, regardless of identification with the group in question.

So now I have located the romance reader stereotype and shown a correlation with the predicted emotional prejudice. So if you think back to where I talked about the causal relationship in the Stereotype Content Model, where I talked about the relationship between societal [00:18:00] structure and, the stereotypes and the emotional prejudice applied to that particular stereotype, I've made a connection between those middle two points, stereotypes and prejudice.

So the next step here is discrimination, which is behavior. So this study did not actually get at that.

However, what I'm going to go into next is sort of a theoretical and anecdotal support for that correlation with the predicted behavior associated with paternalistic prejudice.

So basically I'm moving onto my second research question here, and the Stereotype Content Model predicts that based on the paternalistic stereotype, you'd expect to find behavior that corresponds to active facilitation and passive harm towards romance readers as a group.

Passive harm is pity involving disrespect. And that includes behavior, such as exclusion, ignoring and limiting access to resources.

Now, in my experience, anecdotal evidence certainly supports that romance readers experience passive harm. When I think about how this manifests interpersonally, I think of dismissive comments, like why don't you read real books and institutionally, I can also think of examples, like how romance is excluded from a lot of book festivals or given less shelf space in bookstores. It gets less coverage in major media, has smaller promotional budgets from publishers. And also Vasiliki Veros recently wrote about how dismissive librarian attitudes of romance can lead to its marginalization in libraries.

So now onto question two. Question two is will negative valence stereotypes discourage new readers from reading romance.

To understand if this paternalistic prejudice dynamic is going to impact receptivity to romance, I'm going to refer to theories on behavior change. Dan Arielli explains how behavior change requires addressing motivation and friction and Leon Festinger developed a theory of cognitive dissonance to explain how attitudes interact with behavior.

So let's go back to the Bridgerton reader survey and see if their experience reading romance changed their attitude and or behaviors. Intention to read more romance was correlated strongly with a stated attitude change. Enjoying the romantic elements of a romance novel, also strongly correlated with intention to read more.

So I'm going to explain what is on this slide. So this is a study that had 70 participants in it, and these are Bridgerton novel readers who hadn't previously read romance. And I asked their opinion on Bridgerton and asked them questions about romance novels, and readers. So in one question, I asked, do you plan on reading more romance novels?

And the more positive these respondents were about the romantic content, the greater intention they had to read more romance. So for example, a hundred percent of the people who said that they had already started reading romance novels by other authors, felt positively about the romantic content.

When you look at the group that said, [00:21:00] yes, I plan on reading romance, novels by other authors, but they kind of talked about that more in the future. You can see that 88.2% of them had a positive experience with the romantic content and 11.8% of them felt neutral. So we're starting to get more of a neutral response in there.

And then when you look at the group that said, no, I'm done for now. I'm not going to read more romance novels after this, only 55.6% of them had a positive experience. And 44.4% had a neutral experience with the romantic content. So this seems to show that basically people who actually enjoyed the romantic content were more likely to read more romantic content.

Now the importance of this information is really trying to capture if their experience actually impacted their intention to read more romance. So if you felt good about the romantic content, you had a positive experience with it that, you know, seems to indicate that your attitudes had changed about the books, because you were like, oh, I actually like this, as opposed to, you know, really feeling kind of meh about it right.

Now on the right I have another data visualization, this one is titled greater intention to read more romance equals a higher likelihood of attitudes changed.

And this question was asking if the respondent's beliefs about romance readers had changed. And this was literally just asking, like, do you think that your beliefs about romance readers changed after reading a romance novel yourself? Now, bear in mind that if you came in thinking that romance readers were pretty cool and you left thinking romance readers are pretty cool. You could answer no on this question. Like your beliefs had not changed because you felt like they were cool before and you feel like they're cool afterwards. But I was curious to see if engaging with romance novels directly was going to lead to any attitude change.

Now, the people who said yes, their attitude changed, were also the ones who were the most likely to have an intention to read more. So basically I created an index to represent this numerically. I had like five levels of kind of increasing intention to read more romances. And so if you were like, yeah, I've already started doing it, you get a five and if you're like, heck no, you get like a one, right?

When you look at this population that said, yes, my beliefs changed. They average out of five. 3.8. And then if you look at the other two groups, people who said, I'm unsure if my attitude changed or no, my attitude did not change. They're both hovering around like 2.7 on that. So there's almost like a full point difference between their intention to read more, depending on how much they believe their attitudes around romance readers changed.

So this is how I'm going to conceptualize what the data is showing here. Bridgerton on Netflix created the motivation to read a specific romance, despite [00:24:00] the accepted stereotype about romance readers. These people read a Bridgerton novel.

So what you're seeing is the motivation, people enjoyed the Bridgerton adaptation. They move into a trial experience where they read a Bridgerton book. If they did not enjoy the experience for reasons that could range from individual preference to socialization effects, their preexisting bias has been confirmed and the stereotype about romance is reinforced as accurate. That means that there's no motivation and lots of friction that's preventing them from reading more romance. Attitudes align with behavior, and so they have congruence. So their assessment is, I don't like this, which is basically confirmation bias. Like I knew I wasn't going to like this. I knew romance novels were not good. And then their behavior is, I'm not going to read more romance just like before. And then their attitude is that they can maintain that belief about the stereotype of romance readers.

However, if they liked romance content, now they have a motivation to want to read more. This reader now encounters some friction as they bump up against that stereotype. And they experienced cognitive dissonance. Basically their assessment is now, I like this. Now that is counter to what they thought.

And now they want to have this new behavior to read romance. These are the people who stated that they had an attitude change about romance readers, where now they're like, oh, wait a second. Romance readers must not be what I thought they were like, because I like romance.

So basically what is psychologically uncomfortable here is that threat to self-esteem. Because if you believe that society believes romance readers are incompetent and pitied and you in fact may have actually believed that but now you like romance novels, and you want to read more. Now you have to consider that you belong to that group that is pitied. So what do you do about that?

This new romance reader is now imagining the social repercussions of reading romance and how it may impact how others perceive them

Now remember individuals have no control over this socially shared stereotype.

So how are they going to mitigate that cognitive dissonance? And what I mean by this is they believed this before, they know other people believe this stereotype. It's shared. You can't change how everybody feels about the stereotype. So how are you going to manage this?

So now this is where we come to Kim Pettigrew Brackett's research, and she covered two stigma coping mechanisms employed by romance readers. That's based on Erving Goffman's stigma framework. Erving Goffman was doing work back in the 1960s on this. And, Kim Pettigrew Brackett quotes from him extensively here. So she's really leveraging his work and then applying it to romance readers. Erving Goffman's stigma framework basically correlates to the two coping mechanisms that I observed Leon Festinger identified in his work on cognitive dissonance. So I'm kind of pulling these together here.

The first option for mitigating that [00:27:00] cognitive dissonance is that romance readers can reduce the importance of the negative emotions and use preventative strategies. So as an example, they can adopt this attitude.

" I know romance novels are silly. I just read them to escape when I need a much deserved break. Now they don't mean anything to me and I'm smart enough to see their flaws. I'm not like other romance readers who probably think this is good writing. I, on the other hand, know, this isn't good writing, but I have all these reasons why it's okay for me to read it.

So the strategy that we're talking about here is reducing the salience of the behavior. So the behavior we're talking about is reading romance and reducing the salience basically means making it less important. Now, some tactics that can be employed here are concealing interest. So not telling people that you like romance, or criticizing the content and other readers, because if you also are in on the idea that the content isn't very good, then nobody can say that you have been fooled and that even though you have the behavior of reading romance, it doesn't actually mean anything about you, but it doesn't actually do anything about the fact that you still believe and believe everybody else believes that reading romance is an indication of some character flaw basically.

The second option is that romance readers can also create a new attitude along with their new behavior. And this allows them to read romance without a threat to their self concept. So for example, they could think something along the lines of "romance novels are actually feminist and sophisticated literature. In reality, romance readers are well-educated and smart and diverse, and the stereotype is wrong and unfair."

And so the strategy here is that you're going to adopt a new attitude and tactics would include things like citing intellectual validity and confirming the role of books in your life as a reader. Like, actually they're better than you think.

So I believe that these strategies employed by romance readers, explain this really interesting divergence in my data between responses from romance readers and people who don't read romance. The more romance people read, the more likely respondents were to identify contempt as the emotional response to romance readers over pity.

So what we're looking at here on this slide, this is titled romance readers experience more contempt. And reading more romance correlated with a greater likelihood of assigning contempt versus pity. This was the survey that had 360 responses in it.

This was people who read a range of romances. And the question that I used to measure that was how many romances have you read in the last five years? And their options were zero, one to five, six to 20 and 21 up. Now, I don't know about you, but I read like 50 to a hundred romances a year.

So certainly over five years, I've read [00:30:00] more than 21 romances. So anyone, zero, one to five, six to 20, like these are people who don't read a ton of romance. So if you've read 20 romances max over the last five years, that's like four a year. So you're serious enough about it that you do it regularly, semi-regularly, or you're very new to romance and, you know, you just picked it up this year and read 20 of them. And I say all of that, basically, just to explain that, the closer we get to the most romance on this scale, 21, up in the last five years, the more we see this line of contempt grow and pity come down.

So as a percent of responses, when we look at the responses from people who read zero romances in the last five years, there are four lines on this chart. Basically we've got the four emotional prejudices that correlate to the four stereotype quadrants. So we've got pity and that corresponds to the paternalistic prejudice that we've been talking about applies in my data to romance readers. And then we have contempt and that correlated with the pure antipathy quadrant. So low competence and low warmth. Then we have admire which correlates with that high, high, high competence, high warmth.

And that's again, reserved for the in group. And then envy, which is which is people who are conferred with high competence and low warmth. Now admire and envy are both low across the board on here. So, you know, they kind of top out at less than 10% across the board. Pity starts high.

So people who have read zero romances start out at like 80% assigning pity. And then once you get to one to five romances, they're like up to 90%. And then you get to six to 20 and 21 and up. And all of a sudden that line jumps down to around 50%. And what you see starting to take its place in terms of numbers is contempt.

So contempt in the zero to one to five starts pretty low at like 10%. So only about 10% of respondents who had read zero one to five romances in the last five years, thought that contempt made sense. And then all of a sudden you start getting into six to 20 or 21 and up romances. And all of a sudden those readers start to think contempt applies to romance readers, and it kind of tops off at maybe like 45% for that 21 and up romances in the last five years.

So I believe that the face saving strategies employed by romance readers to preserve their self concept and adapt to the experience of discrimination, leads, them to overestimate the level of animus in the emotional prejudice that is applied to romance readers.

So while it's easy for outsiders, people who don't read romance to downplay the impact of the passive harm that is applied towards romance readers, that harm is perceived as more active and intentional by those who experience it.

[00:33:00] I noticed in my one-on-one interviews that some new romance readers try to share their newfound excitement about the genre with people in their lives.

And they attempted to change their attitudes by providing social proof or by influencing them to read a romance novel. And these new romance readers seemed kind of surprised to run into the friction of that socially held stereotype. And they quickly began employing the face saving strategies that were described by Brackett earlier.

Now this indicates that they underestimated the discrimination until they were on the receiving end.

So coming back to my guiding questions, the second question that I asked, which was " will negative valence stereotypes, discourage new readers from reading romance." I mean, I didn't really answer that question. I gathered some data that is interesting. That second question does not wrap up quite as neatly as the first one, because there are really, honestly, just too many variables at play here, but I do feel that I gained some new insight into the dynamics of the stereotype and how it impacts or could discourage new readers.

I also believe that the Stereotype Content Model can be fruitful in many other aspects of romance scholarship from romance novel content analysis, to understanding the nature of the marginalization of romance within the publishing ecosystem. So I think this is a really helpful framework and I truly believe this is really just the beginning of leveraging this framework.

I have a lot more data on all of these points. You know, I've barely brushed the surface really of the data that I have, but this is kind of like the initial first steps of the narrative. And then I think I can build on this later.

So I also think cognitive dissonance is another useful framework for understanding how individuals cope with engaging in a stigmatized leisure activity, such as reading romance.

So that is me sharing my initial research. I'm trying to develop this into like an actual written piece of research and pull out more of my data and round it out a little bit more than I had to for this 15 minute presentation. As I mentioned, I also have seven one-on-one interviews that were recorded so you are going to be hearing from those folks in season three. I am so excited to share their voices and also share more thoughts on what they had to say.

I want to give a special shout out to Jodi McAlister, who was one of the chairs for the romance section of the Pop Culture Association. And I was kind of on the fence about submitting an abstract for this. I had not done any of the research. I just kind of like had this idea and she definitely encouraged me to submit something and I embarked on way more research than I think I really had to do, but I think it was fun and I enjoyed doing it.

So I appreciate that Jodi McAlister among the many other scholars in the popular romance fiction field who have been really welcoming to me as a nonacademic to kind of be part of their world in the words of Ariel.

Andrea Martucci: And that is all [00:36:00] for season two. Thank you so much for being along for this crazy journey with me, I will be doing more retrospective and, uh, future focused thinking, coming up soon.

Thank you so much for spending time with me today, and don't forget to subscribe to Shelf Love on your favorite podcast app to get updates when new episodes are available. If you enjoy this content you can support Shelf Love on Patreon starting at just $3 a month. You can check that out at You can also sign up to get my free email newsletter, find recommendations and blog posts, and get transcripts for every single episode going back over a year at this point, all on my website, Shelf Love Podcast dot com. If you'd like to get in touch with me, you can email me at Andrea at Shelf Love Podcast dot com.

That's all for today. Bye.