Do you believe in gendered books? That is to say, are some books for girls and others for boys?
This question came up after a recent discussion with my friend Eric (over at The Educated Bachelor). We were talking about some audio books he was currently listening to – the Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan. And he started off by telling me two things about the books.
- It’s more of a series for boys.
- They’re really for teens.
Not in those words exactly, but it got me thinking. Why do we categorize certain books as books for boys, or books for girls? And why is it that a book with a male protagonist is OK for a girl to read, but a book about a girl is less socially acceptable for a boy to read.
Granted, there are exception to this rule. The Hunger Games series is a great example. Boys would love to read about a battle to the death right? So let’s make sure we don’t stick the girl on the cover of those books. It might keep them from picking it up.
There are lots of posts online that talk about gendered reading, and many lists out there telling you what books a woman should read, or a man for that matter. Now, I’ll never tell you that those lists don’t have some great books on them. I just think that (tastes aside) any book that’s good enough for me, should be good enough for anyone else.
Of course, I’ve never been one for binary gender roles. I think that’s why I had such an aversion to pink as a child. Pink was a girls color, and I didn’t want to be defined by that. And while I’ve gotten over my hatred of pink, I don’t think I’ll ever be OK with someone telling me that something isn’t for me, solely because I’m a girl.
You’ll notice that this conversation also brought up age as a categorization of books. I have thoughts on that too, but I think we might leave those for next week.