Small Prince Art

Updates Thursdays

The Gender Divide: Girls Books vs. Boy Books

on August 30, 2012

The Gender Divide: “Girl” Books vs. “Boy” Books

The other day, I was having a conversation with my younger brother. I should mention that I, myself, am a girl.

We were talking about the new Battleship movie and I joked to Brother that since Transformers, G. I. Joe, and Battleship were all owned by Hasbro, than it was only a matter of time that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is turned into a giant summer blockbuster movie.

And this is what he said to me, absolutely, completely serious:

“That will never happen. You know why? Transformers, G. I. Joe, and Battleship were all toys that BOYS  like.”

First of all:

This. is. adorable.

Angry cat is angry.

Though what Brother said to me was absolutely, positively, unforgivably chauvinistic, he did make me think about the gender divide prevalent in our society. And I’m not even going to pretend to be the person who comments on it film wise, but I think I can talk about the gender divide when it comes to books.

So the question is: what makes a “boy” book and what makes a “girl” book?

“Boy” books typically:

1. Have boys as main characters

2. Are primarily action-adventure stories

3. Have a token female, that is usually a love interest (but the romance is typically a minor part of the story)

Yeah, these books are totally geared toward boys.

“Girl” books on the other hand:

1. Have girls as main characters

2. Are primarily romances (Even if the books are technically in other genres, such as action-adventure, horror, or coming-of-age stories, there will be some sort of romance in the story)

3. Have at least one male love interest (they will always get together. Always)

While this series was written for girls.

I’ve. . . never read any of her books.

So then that means that girls only read books written for them and boys read books only written for them, right?

Not necessarily, Harry Potter fits well into “boy” format, while The Hunger Games fits into the “girl” format (though it does lean more toward action-adventure with child murder gladiator ring aspect of the books) and both series appeals to both genders.

There’s also this whole thing about how boys won’t even take a second look at a book if a girl is on the cover, whereas girls are totally on board with reading books featuring boys.

Huh. Maybe that’s why they went with this cover.

Also, there’s a whole thing about boys apparently don’t read anymore. I have a theory about that, and when I was doing my research for this article, I discovered that many people agree with me.

Alright, so picture your local bookstore, specifically the Young Adult section. What is the genre with the most books in it?

Yep.

Can’t imagine why this genre has gotten so popular in the past few years…

No, really. Not a clue.

Now, I’m not going to hate on Teenage Paranormal Romance Novels. I’m not going to. I’m just not. Sorry.

However, I will point out that most, if not all, of these books are geared toward girls. And they are the majority of books in the YA section. Meaning the majority of books in the YA section are geared toward girls.

This seriously needs to end. First of all, they aren’t offering anything to half the people who buy books (Probably more than that, considering all the ladies out there, including me, who don’t particularly like romance novels).

Second of all, teenage boys not reading is considered a pretty big problem among teachers. Once again, who can blame the average teen boy for not many of the new releases, when most of them are things he probably won’t like.

Thirdly, it’s getting repetitive. Publishing companies have found out what sells, and many times it’s the same Twilight story over and over again, i.e. girl goes to different place, discovers supernatural creatures and falls in love with the one that’s DAMAGED. Either that, or the girl herself is some sort of supernatural creature and is DAMAGED, and then falls in love with some human guy or another supernatural creature.

I guess my point is that The Gender Divide exists, and its effects are pretty deep. Frankly, the sooner we can bridge the divide, the better.

Advertisements

One response to “The Gender Divide: Girls Books vs. Boy Books

  1. “girl goes to different place, discovers supernatural creatures and falls in love with the one that’s DAMAGED. Either that, or the girl herself is some sort of supernatural creature and is DAMAGED, and then falls in love with some human guy or another supernatural creature.

    This may have very precisely described Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Even had a woman on the cover. But that book started out interesting, even if the ending deflated a little bit. *harumph*

    But you mentioned the YA section being targeted mostly at girls. You want to know where the books targeted at boys are? Classics, fiction, and the scifi/fantasy sections.

    I mean, compare these two lists:
    http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/45.Best_Books_for_Teen_Boys
    http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1816.Best_Teen_Girl_Books

    Top 10 Girls: All books published within the last 6 years. Heavy romance, fantasy, etc.

    Top 10 Boys: Heavy on newer books, but also has books that are 55 years old. Heavy fantasy, but also a few choice selections of exceptional but real life stuff happening.

    A big problem is that fiction has not historically been written to target women. While everyone can enjoy many recent classics, they are heavily male driven stories and not specifically targeted at women. This leaves women without the same range of past literary characters to identify with.

    LoTR is great. I think everyone can enjoy it. But there is a dearth of active woman characters (I tend to give him a pass because it was 1954 and Eowyn is a badass).

    Second, I know where the young adult boys section is. It is the sci-fi fantasy section.

    Many of those books in the sci-fi and fantasy section are of young adult level and targeted at boys. Have you read some of those warhammer books? They are horribly written atrocities of machismo.

    And that points to the biggest problem with the state of fiction. Men and boys are the standard target audience. Women are seen as a niche audience.

    Fiction is targeted at men. Fiction for women is targeted at women. And that is a problem.

    Now I’m sure that was ranty and rambling enough. But I have one final thing to say. Battleship is a board game. A sucky boardgame made of almost pure luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: