Did everyone catch The Problem Is Not the Books (via FB Claire Legrand) on Saundra Mitchell’s blog last Saturday? It was in response to this New York Times article basically saying that boys are reading less because YA books are being written for girls. It’s one of those head scratching “huh?” statements that makes no logical sense. And you’d think more guys would see this because we are, after all, supposed to be the more logical ones.
So, according to the NYT article, if I’m the average guy, this is what I’d say to a YA author, “Your books aren’t manly enough in their look and content. Take that chick off the cover and put some more action and other manly things in your book. Then I”ll at least consider it.” Obviously that’s about as ridiculous as it gets, but I swear that’s what I was hearing while reading it.
Saundra goes on to explain that what we’re really talking about is sexism. Somewhere along the line, reading became a girly thing to do. It’s important to understand this point because THAT is the reason so much YA is marketed towards girls. It wasn’t that the publisher decided they only wanted girl readers. Boys stopped, girls continued and the publisher marketed to the available readers. Simple math. Believe me, if they could figure out how to duplicate Harry Potter and sell books to all sexes and age groups, they’d do it in a blink. The publisher isn’t sexist.
Even though we live in a man’s world, it’s ironic that girls are the ones with more choice in what they like. Girls can read their romances and cozy mysteries PLUS a techno thriller. Girls bake and clean, but handy with a hammer too? We’re talking one cool chick. Now reverse it for dudes and what do you get? You guessed it, we’re talking one gay dude.
Is there something wrong with me because I’m a total Gleek?
Is there something wrong with me because I bought Teenage Dream? (And let’s all admit that Snoop Dogg was on California Gurls so guys could have an excuse for listening to that song)
Is there something wrong with me because I think sports are boring?
Is there something wrong with me because I recently found out I like reading romance?
Hope not because that’s the tip of the iceberg for my problems.
I’m not sure what the answer to all this is. I doubt sexism will disappear, so I guess the only control we have is within our own world. Any little boys I have are going to know it’s okay to like what they want to like. I can’t control how the rest of the world will react, but maybe by setting the tone at home they’ll be more prepared.
Do you think this type of double standard exists? Any real life experiences to back up your opinion?