Discussion Sunday is our meme used to have an open discussion about anything books. It’s not necessarily every week, just whenever we have a topic we’d like to talk about. If you’d like to join us on your own blog, please credit us and send us the link so we can discuss your topic with you! -Taylor
This week I’d like to talk about something that’s been on my mind for a very long time.
About a year ago, I was in Barnes and Noble with my sister when a mother with a young child came into the YA aisle. The kid was around 10 years old and the mother was in search of a book or two for an older daughter who wasn’t with them. When the kid showed the mother The Maze Runner and said that it looked like a good book, the mother glanced at the cover and said, “No, that book is for boys.” I was stunned. Both that someone would think The Maze Runner is just for boys and that someone would think a book that The Maze Runner is genderized. My sister and I are baffled to this day about why that women thought something like that.
So today, I really want to talk about why some books are genderized and why it’s such a big deal.
What about a book makes it a book for boys? What makes a book “girly”? Is it action/adventure books meant for males just as movies are? Why do people assume girls don’t want to read about superheros and things exploding? Personally, I love books (and movies) like that. What about The Maze Runner said “for boys” to that women in Barnes and Noble? If a book is written from a guy’s perspective, does that make it a masculine book? Granted, I think if a book is written in a guy’s perspective, it’s probably more appealing because it’s more relatable. If a guy walked up to me and asked me for a book recommendation, I’m much for likely to say Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson over The Selection by Kiera Cass purely because Steelheart is written from a guy’s perspective. Not because The Selection is “chick lit”.
If books are masculine or feminine depending on what perspective it’s written in, what category does duel perspective fall into? All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is written in both a guy and girl’s perspective and yet I’ve seen people refer to it as “chick lit”. Is contemporary in general “chick lit”? Is it the pastel colored cover that screams “I’m for girls”?
I personally think books should just remain books. I don’t believe there are books for girls or books for guys. I feel like this kind of sexism is almost exclusive to New Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade books. I have not once seen anyone refer to Game of Thrones in any kind of genderized manner. But books like The Maze Runner and The Selection are subjected to being categorized by gender all the time. YA books tend to be marketed toward genders instead of readers.
I know this post is mostly rhetorical questions but the whole subject of books being for a specific gender baffles me. It also bothers me to no end.
What are your thoughts on masculine/feminine literature? What books do you feel are marketed toward a specific gender? Does it bother you? Do you think there’s any need for it? Comment below with any and all thoughts on this subject. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions, whether you agree or disagree with me.