Still reading the romance: gothic sexuality and the remembrance of feminism through Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey

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Abstract

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.The Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey texts have been popularly understood and promoted as having a polarizing effect on readers and audiences, with divergent interpretations focusing heavily on their representations of gendered sexuality. Because debates about female sexuality have been so closely and controversially associated with feminism, their reception has also been channelled through the enduring circuitry of the ‘sex-wars’. This article examines the ways in which the texts and their reception invoke a feminism at war with itself, arguing that this pattern reprises the enduring binary of the virgin/whore. Further, the current ‘gothicization’ of sexuality and pathologization of feminism – as well as the often-overlooked resurgence of goddess imagery in these texts – is argued to be intimately and inevitably connected, being responsive to the twin legacies of sexual liberation and the politicization of desire.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-354
JournalContinuum
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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