Monday Musings: Ok, So What Makes It “Women’s Fiction”?


Pardon my ignorance, but what is “Women’s fiction”? I mean, I have a general idea, but isn’t romance for the most part women’s fiction because the target audience is women? Or is it fiction written by women for women that doesn’t focus on romance?

The textbook definition:

The Romance Writers of America organization defines women’s fiction as, “a commercial novel about a woman on the brink of life change and personal growth. Her journey details emotional reflection and action that transforms her and her relationships with others, and includes a hopeful/upbeat ending with regard to her romantic relationship.”

Ok, that’s all well and good, but I’ve read a lot of damn romances that fit this description too. So basically, my theory is partially correct-the focus isn’t on the romantic/sexual nature of the narrative, but the “emotional journey” the heroine undergoes.

Truthfully, I look at this moniker two ways:

  1. It’s just another marketing ploy rooted in misogyny to alert certain readers that “Hey, bro, this is a chick novel so don’t even waste your time, dude.”
  2. It’s just another marketing ploy aimed at attracting more female readers. “Greetings, my sister. Do you enjoy a good read that speaks to the feelings and emotions and shit we women go through on the regular? Have a look-see…”

So, I typed in Men’s Fiction on Amazon just for the hell of it, and this is what popped up.

Side Eye Ewww




8 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Ok, So What Makes It “Women’s Fiction”?

  1. From what I understand, women’s fiction has a love story but does not have to have a happy ending or a happy for now. To me, it’s a tad more like real life.

  2. Yes with the Prince gif, lols.

    Honestly, idk what Women’s fiction is either. I’ve tagged books that I’ve read as such but I check the authors website to be sure it is what is suppose to be….lols. But I have to agree with your assessment because what’s really real up in these genre streets 😉

  3. Although women’s fiction revolves around a woman embarking…on something, even if has romantic elements, if the romance isn’t the driving force of the book’s plot and if the romance doesn’t end in a happy ending (or happy for now) it is women’s fiction with romantic elements. Not a romance.

    If those two things did exist in the book then it would be labeled as a romance. So basically, books where the central theme revolves around a woman embarking on…something, that have romantic elements and no HEA/HFN are booted from the romance shelves before readers burn them in protest. It is for the books safety. Whereas womens’ fiction that does have an HEA/HFN and the central plot revolves around a romantic relationship between the heroine and another heroine/hero, gets to stay on the glorious romance shelves.

    Regarding men’s fiction, With the exception of the m/m romance, it is particularly hard for men to recognize romance. The Lord of the Rings could be deemed as men’s fiction with romantic elements. So could The Bourne Identity. However, I doubt most men would ever admit that. And for those men offended bythat comment…#sorrynotsorry. :-*

    That Prince gif though…LOVE!

    1. Whew! I think you’ve summed it all up quite nicely. Women’s fiction or not tho, I need a story to end on a positive note or my entire experience is ruined lol

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