• Natasja Nielsen Ravnsbæk
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
The thesis paper “He’s going to kiss me there: A comparative feminist stylistic analysis of agency and gender in selected erotic literature for women” stylistically examines agency and gender in the three novels Dark Lover (by J.R. Ward), Fifty Shades of Grey and Grey (both by E.L. James). The three texts are all examples of erotic literature aimed at women, published within the span of ten years of each other. The Fifty Shades of Grey series is often credited with creating a new awareness about erotic literature – and subsequently, initiating a discussion of the genre.
Consequently, this thesis paper will explore how different works within the genre of erotic literature depict gender roles, romantic relationships and sexual agency. Furthermore, as Grey is the re-telling of Fifty Shades of Grey’s narrative through the eyes of Christian Grey, it is possible to look at how gender influences the portrayal of relationships and agency. With the methods ‘corpus stylistics’, Sara Mills’ ‘feminist stylistics’ and theory on feminism, gender and agency, both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the three texts have been conducted.
Quantitatively, there is a tendency to favor the male in Dark Lover and Fifty Shades of Grey, though it is done to a greater extent in the Fifty Shades of Grey narrative, where male dominance is continuously emphasized. Grey favors the female, which suggests that the Fifty Shades of Grey narrative has an intense focus on the narrator’s romantic interest. Moreover, Dark Lover does, in some of the aspects analyzed, portray an equal relationship between genders.
Qualitatively, it is shown that equal sexual agency is promoted in Dark Lover, which stands in contrast to Fifty Shades of Grey and Grey, as the female is granted little to no sexual agency. Additionally, discourses of female shame are likewise present in the Fifty Shades of Grey narrative and the access to Christian’s point of view in Grey exposes a set of assumptions about men, which largely adheres to stereotypical, traditional expectations of masculinity.
In conclusion, all three texts stylistically portray stereotypical gender roles, though it is more prominent in the Fifty Shades of Grey narrative, but differ greatly in terms of agency, where Dark Lover favors a gender equal depiction of sexual agency and Fifty Shades of Grey and Grey foreground the male as the aggressor at, almost, all times.
Publication date2019
Number of pages68
ID: 304824672