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Marina September 15th, 2012 10:57 am

Sticking genders on books
 
I have been thinking about how there are so many "girls' reading lists" and "boys' reading lists" out there, or reviewers saying "boys will enjoy this!" "this will get your girls interested in reading!" The reviewers and so on have good intentions, I am positive, but it seems to hinge on certain stereotypes at times--e.g. girls will like books with fluffy animals (I like 'em feline and mean! :elaugh: ), princesses (ick--unless they're a Tudor or Ancient Egyptian or Greek princess :p), and pink (only time I like pink is in a sunset/rise). Boys, of course, will only like books with boy protagonists (like Harry Potter or Harry Dresden or Percy Jackson), boatloads of action, and plenty of adventure in wild places. Throw in a dinosaur or two and you're good to go. :relax:

Personally I have been more attracted to books that are frequently toted on the boys' list rather than the girls', or at least what I would think would likely be. Animorphs, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson series, Kane Chronicles series, and various other books that I can't think of at the moment. Of course I like(d) my fair share of books that are "for girls only" like Little Women, Laura Ingills, Anne of Green Gables, Secret Garden, and A Little Princess. But I definitely find myself attracted to books with adventure and action, which I believe doesn't make me any less female.

So, the questions.

1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?
2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?
3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?

Sereena September 15th, 2012 11:16 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?
I think it's a marketing scheme and nothing else. Why not let people decide what they would like on their own?

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?

Of course not, I want to read whatever interests me. What is the point of such limitations?

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?
I'm not sure because the "girls" and "boys" books seems to mainly apply to children's books. It's not done very much with grown up books, as far as I know. I read books with women protagonists but I don't read chick lit. I'm not sure what kinds of books would be considered guy books. Anything and everything by male authors or with male protagonists? I've read plenty of those as well. So it would be a mix :)

asdfasdf17 September 16th, 2012 12:49 am

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?

I never thought of it as a really big deal. I think they put genders on reading lists for new readers who are not sure what they'd like to read. It might help them to select a book that they think other people of their gender/age are reading. But for people who read a lot, than having a gender placed on a book shouldn't be a big problem because they would know enough about their reading preference to know if they'd be interested in the book despite it's gender.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?

No because I like to read any book that interests me and there are both guy and girl books that I like. I look more at the summary/synopsis of the book and see if I'd enjoy it.

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?

It would be a mix but definitely more "boys" books. I like books with action, adventure and guy main characters because they can be interesting to read.

Yoana September 16th, 2012 10:50 am

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
In my opinion, gendering books only aids the already existing disparity in reading between men and women (women read more, on average) - because as a rule, women would read both chicklit and books geared towards men, but men are more hesitant to take up a "girly" book.

WelkinCooper October 20th, 2012 2:06 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?

I think there definitely are books that would appeal more to girls than to boys, as well as the reverse, but to automatically label them as such is like trying to pretend you're still living in the past when gender was a much more defined thing and girls were only allowed to do or be certain things in life. I don't like that idea. It's the same as saying boys can't play with dolls and girls can't play with guns.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?


From the first time I picked up a book to read to myself, I've always read books without paying attention how they were recommended. Girl or boy. Children's section or adult's section. 'Serious' or 'fluff'. Morally uplifting or morally scandalous. It doesn't matter to me. I've always liked to read, no matter what. I like reading things I'm interested in, however they're labeled. I don't really like the idea of following somebody else's 'rules' about what I'm supposed to read. But that's pretty much my personality about everything in life. I don't always believe what I'm supposed to believe about limitations.


3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?

A mix.

Pokota October 20th, 2012 4:59 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?
On the one hand, it's an evil marketing ploy that should never have come into existence in the first place. On the other hand, there definitely are books out there written with a specific gender audience in mind (cough*Twilight*cough). I say that if the author says it's for a specific gender, then it can have that gender put on it. Otherwise, don't bias a book by saying it's for girls or boys just because it has one of the main characters chasing a unicorn during a full third of the book. This goes for all entertainment, not just books.
2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?
I prefer adventure-y books and character-driven stories. Most of the books that I have read are books that fall under the 'male' assignment. I enjoy gender-neutral stories the best.
3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?That depends on how the Redwall books are classified, but outside of that they would be predominately "boys" books. If you were to consider all of what I consume for entertainment, however, you'd see a more even mix.

lvngbooks October 20th, 2012 6:47 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?
I dislike it, but I have to admit that I catch myself saying the same things. I try not to label the books according to gender because nobody fits in one specific box. Plus putting a girl-label on a book will probably automatically discourage a boy to read it - which is exactly the opposite of what people try to achieve by putting labels on books.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?
Depends on my mood. In general, I'd say I'm more into 'boy books' than into 'girl books', but I read just about anything within YA and middlegrade so I just pick whatever sounds good from the synopsis.

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?
A mix, though recently bought books fit more into the "boys" category.

RikuStark October 21st, 2012 3:33 am

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?

I don't mind it, some books would just appeal more to one gender over the other. I'm not saying a guy can't read a book that is advertised as a girls book.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?


Yes and no. I'm generally more attracted to books that are specified for my own gender, but on the other hand, when I read a book that is labeled more as a guy book I end up loving it.

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?


I think it would be a mix, but lean a little bit more on the girls books side.

gelowo93 February 9th, 2014 5:04 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?
I don't agree with it. I could probably write an essay on this, but putting genders on books is based on stereotypes, and having all action books aimed at boys implies that girls aren't allowed to read them, and having all romances aimed at girls tells boys that they can't read romances. It reinforces the gender binary, which then causes all sorts of problems in society.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?
No, although, I probably lean slightly towards reading "girl" books, but I avoid the ones that are specifically aimed at girls because they tend to be romances, and I'm not a big fan of them.

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?
I'd say I read gender neutral books, with the occasional "girl" book, but then I'm not entirely sure what counts as a "boy" book. I don't see action/adventure/sci-fi as being boy books, I view them as gender neutral, whereas "girl" books are more obviously romances.

UselessCharmMaster February 9th, 2014 5:14 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Yoana (Post 6040044)
In my opinion, gendering books only aids the already existing disparity in reading between men and women (women read more, on average) - because as a rule, women would read both chicklit and books geared towards men, but men are more hesitant to take up a "girly" book.

Exactly. And it's a marketing thing: girls read books "for everyone" and "for girls", what means they read more... :)

Schlubalybub February 9th, 2014 11:11 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?

It's pants, basically. Read what you like. I'm not into the whole "girls should like a, but boys should like B, and the two should never switch" kinda thing. If you wanna read a book about a fighter, or a time traveller, or a princess, or a murderer, read it. As long as it's age appropriate (as in, don't give ten year olds Stephen King or EL James and I'm happy)

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?

I don't think I've ever really seen books specifically aimed at males, and the whole "chick-lit" thing is just fluff, although I do like some of it. I think it's more the perception of the consumer, rather than the publisher. That said, when I mention that I'm a big Harry Potter fan, or a big Stephen King fan, people say "aren't they aimed at men/boys?" To which I argue that there's no label on them. It's the same with everything. To put it into context, even things that are specifically labelled as boys or girls, like toys, I've always laughed at that. I had Sindy dolls and Action Man when I was a kid, and they played together, sometimes stereotypically, but more often side by side, fighting in khaki. It all depends on what you like, and you can't help what you like, be it books, toys, food, films...whatever.

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?

Probably a mix. As I mentioned above, I love Stephen King books, but I'm also partial to a bit of chick-lit (although I hate that name), depending on the author. It also helps that a lot of my favourite books are autobiographies, and I think that they are aimed at "fans" as a whole rather than "males or females". But my favourites would be my Harry Potter series, almost my entire Stephen King library, selected books by Marian Keyes and Wendy Holden, a bit of Roald Dahl, and the autobiographies- usually musicians or comedians (my favourites being Peter Kay's first book, Jennifer Saunders, Stephen Fry (Moab is my Washpot and the Fry Chronicles), Geri Halliwell (her two first books), Simon Pegg and John Bishop)

Oh, and my copy of Simpsons World, the 8.8lb Ultimate Guide to the first 20 seasons of The Simpsons...

So yeah, definitely a mix.

MmeBergerac February 23rd, 2014 8:57 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?

I hate to be told that a certain book is not meant for me. When I read it, I will decide whether it is my style or not. Meanwhile, don't assume I'm a cliché, thank you very much.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?

I have enthusiastically ignored gender and age labels since I was ten and The Three Musketeers became a permanent part of my bed table. As a matter of fact, I generally avoid books strongly advertised as "girlish" because when I have tried they have usually turned out to be a) romance with lots of sentimentalism, for which I have very little patience or b) books in which the feminist message became more important than the story they were supposed to tell (it's the same for me with all books with too much message and too little story, but only the feminist ones are marked as "for girls").

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?

A mix with some tendency to the boys' side. It may be interesting to mention that the girly part is mostly XIXth century.

Anyway, how do you label those things? It's easy (not neccesarily accurate; easy) to say Sherlock Holmes = boys, Jane Austen = girls, but what do you do, for instance, with Les Miserables? Do you tell the boys to read only the part of the Waterloo battle and the barricades and the girls to read only the convent chapters and the Cosette/Marius romance?

RemusLupinFan March 1st, 2014 12:52 am

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?
I don't like the idea of labeling books with specific genders. I know it's likely done more from a sales/marketing perspective than trying to divide books into male and female reads, but I reject the idea that certain books only appeal to one gender.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?
No, I read what I like. What I like is sci-fi / fantasy / urban fantasy, and also non-fictional works about various scientific topics. These are probably classified as "male" books, but I don't care.

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?
As I said above, probably all "boys" books. I definitely don't have any romances or books about princesses. :no: I like lots of action and usually can't care less about who is in love with whom in stories.

Fawkesfan1 March 1st, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
Quote:

1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?
1. Nope. To me they're books. Regardless of who they're 'supposedly' aimed at. I like reading sci fi, mystery, action/adventure, fantasy, etc. Don't care if the books are aimed at a different audience either.

2. ^ See number one for part of that answer. I don't care. If the book is a good one, it makes NO difference what so-called audience it was aimed at. What matters is the book itself.

3. A mix. I don't consider them to be 'girl' books or 'boy' books.

Spacecadet March 26th, 2014 2:47 pm

Re: Sticking genders on books
 
this is such an interesting topic. I wish I'd seen it sooner. There is a huge debate about this now and I tend to think sticking genders on books is silly.

1. What are your views on putting a specific gender on a book?
I think it might be taking things a step to far. While i think it's ok to say something might appeal more to a certain gender, i dont think its fair to pigeonhole books into one gender or another. Girls and Boys both read widely and dont care if something is a "Boy book" or a "girl book" if you ask teens they will read pretty much anything. That said boys do often have an aversion to reading a book with a bare chested guy on the front and rightfully so.

2. Do you prefer to read only books assigned to your gender? Why/why not?
Nope. I read whatever sounds interesting to me.

3. If you could see all your favourite books magically appear on a bookshelf in your home, would they be more "girls"' books or "boys" books, or a mix?

A mix I like reading both. I read widely I dont care if the MC is a guy or girl, just that they are interesting and have interesting adventures.


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