Student Project &
Research Symposium

Oral
Presentation

Student Project &
Research Symposium

Poster
Presentation

Student Project &
Research Symposium

Performance

Student Project &
Research Symposium

Exhibition

College Center Ballroom
Stigmatization of Romance Readers: Does it Exist among College Aged Students?
Kate Lee
Date:
April 22nd, 2022
Division:
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Department:
Social sciences
Mentor:
Michael Sutliff
Mentor's e-mail:
msutliff@occ.cccd.edu
Author's e-mail:
klee197@student.cccd.edu
Presentation Slides
Abstract:

Romance is the largest and best selling genre in America with more than 16.2 million novels being sold in the first five months in 2020 (NPD Bookscan). However, it has been suggested that romance readers have had recurring experiences of stigmatization and shame from non-romance readers (Lois & Gregson, 2015). As a result, it is inferred that romance readers avoid sharing their passion for their interest due to the negative reaction they receive. The purpose of this study is to determine if a stigma exists among college students, and if there are higher levels of stigmatization in the minds of men versus women. Survey research was the modality utilized to conduct this study and the participants included 481 college aged students that represented various demographic variables. The results revealed that 40% of non-romance readers stigmatized romance readers, with 35% of men and 44% of women saying yes. Among the romance readers, 51% stated that they felt stigmatized for their reading choices with 37% of men and 54% of women saying yes to stigmatization. From the study, it was discovered that while men do not necessarily stigmatize more than women, there is an emphasis on gender when it comes to romance novels. The results also show that book covers are large indicators of stigmatization in the reading community and that many prefer discrete covers to overly sexualized ones. Publishers and marketing companies can use this information in order to increase readership with both their male and female audiences.

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