Gender Role Models in Fictional Novels for Emerging Adult Lesbians

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4 Scopus citations


Novels provide role models for young adult lesbians and thus may influence their identity development. This study focused on 16 lesbian protagonists identified in 11 young adult novels that received 2011 Lambda Literary Award nominations. Content analyses revealed six themes. Three themes defied traditional gender stereotypes: Asserting Oneself, Pursuing Intimacy with Another Woman, and Breaking Free of Constraints to Authentic Self-Expression. Three themes reinforced gender stereotypes: Negative Emotional Experiences Associated with Lesbian Identity, Traditional Masculine Gender Expression, and Traditional Gender Role-Based Sexual Scripts. Each theme is discussed in light of its possible contribution to lesbian identity development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-166
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Lesbian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • emerging adulthood
  • gender stereotypes
  • media
  • role models
  • sexual minority identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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