This thesis examines the new-adult romance work Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James and the novel's readership to identify the evolution of the romance genre and the ways in which the genre is used as a tool for empowerment. As the genre evolves, subgenres develop with the new "empowering" characteristics. As new technologies present themselves to readers, readers have more opportunities to participate with one another and affect the genre's evolution. I assert that Fifty Shades of Grey and the romance community are limited by the patriarchal values traditionally portrayed by the genre; however, the nature of the "empowering" characteristics of Fifty Shades of Grey, bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism (BDSM), and the growing interconnectedness of the romance reading community suggest a growing awareness of this pervasive patriarchal influence.
Kristi J. Cole
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Arts and Humanities
Quale, A. E. (2014). Pursuit of Empowerment: The Evolution of the Romance Novel and Its Readership in Fifty Shades of Grey [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/312/
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