Reading “Why Men Don’t Read”

One of my colleagues at the Arapahoe Library District posted a link to Jason Pinter’s post “Why Men Don’t Read” and once again, I was reminded of my position as an odd man out (pun not intended, really).

Although Pinter’s main argument is that there are not enough books specifically geared towards men, it kind of misses its own bias. I only really noticed these biases when I began reading the comments section. Although I am not going to claim another victory for the wisdom of crowds, it’s worth noting that the readers did a great job of balancing out a publishing insider’s perspective. They illustrated that the main issue is that both genders are pigeonholed by marketers:

In fact, I would say the choices for men–when it comes to fiction–are more varied than the available choices for women….only if I look in the thrillers, crime novels, detective novels, science fiction… I’d like to think we’ve moved past Sleeping Beauty singing “Someday My Prince Will Come,” but we really haven’t.”

Male readers display a similar bias, assigning their gender a set of genres:

There are lots of books for men. Political thrillers, science fiction, historical, etc. I think most advertising is geared towards women because women probably shop more, but that doesn’t mean men don’t shop at all.”

Ah, the gender roles! Even in nonfiction, they play themselves out, Pinter cites his experiences trying to get Chris Jehrico’s book published, and one former Lit major explains his move to the land of the “factual.” Still, are all guys interested in war, sports, cars, classics and biography? There were some complaints about the general femininity of the book world from Pinter and in the comments, but it might just be us gents getting defensive and trying to reassert our masculinity. Can we voice a real concern about the system when we still play by its’ rules?

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