Romancing Feminism: From Women’s Studies to Women’s Fiction

Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd (Edith Cowan University)- Romancing Feminism:  From Women’s Studies to Women’s Fiction

After the keynote address, the rest of the day was 30 minute panel discussions.

The first of these that I attended was by Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd, from the School of Psychology and Social Science at Edith Cowan University.  I am extremely sorry to say that I missed part of this lecture – I went to my room to take migraine tablets and lie down during morning tea, and returned a bit late after the break.

The reason I am so sorry I missed part of Dr Reid Boyd’s talk is because she had the elements I found missing from Professor Whelehan’s keynote address.  Dr Reid Boyd is an academic, and she is also a published Romance author (under the pseudonym Eliza Redgold).  With the demise of women’s studies in universities she decided to look in another direction, and attended her first RWA convention.  And was surprised to find a very familiar scene – predominately female participants and presenters, a collaborative leadership model, a supportive atmosphere, and lots of purple everywhere.  Out of that she explored the idea that romance is actually a form of feminism.

The paper she presented today looked at noble women who created courtly love, examining its contemporary popular explosion and the concurrent rise of popular romance studies in the wake of women’s studies.  She proposed that reading ad writing romance fiction is not merely personal escapism, but also political activism.

– time to liberate romance to allow it to have space again
– romance writing has improved her academic writing
– as raised in the keynote address, she mentioned that there is a lack of a code of love in feminist writing

After the discussion finished I had a quick word to apologise for being late, and to also thank her for giving me hope that feminist literature and studies of romance have in fact progressed beyond the 1980s.  Dr Reid Boyd told me that there is actually a lot of writing in 3rd wave feminism that looks at romance writing, so I will have to have a look at that when I get a chance.

And I will also also check out her novel!

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