I originally posted this in 2010 and thought it deserved a re-airing after reading Heather Massey’s post on Benevolent Sexism on her blog, The Galaxy Express. And because Kicking Ashe is in the process of releasing and I think guys and gals would enjoy it. 🙂
Elizabeth Moon did a post-ArmadilloCon blog about how what women write is judged differently from men’s. I don’t usually get into this kind of stuff, because what people read is so personal. But there does seem to be a perception that men have readers and women have women readers. I have observed it with my own two eyes. There are some wonderful exceptions, guys who like to read books and they don’t care if the author is male or female. (Some of them have written to tell me they enjoyed my books and for that I thank them!)
As someone who grew up in the midst of the turmoil of the women’s movement, I get a bit weary of the whole “you have to do this because its fair” argument. I don’t think telling someone they have to buy a book because it’s fair or because they “should” will work. I know I wouldn’t. I’d go out of my way not to.
And I can’t completely blame the men here, because I’ve met women who believe men won’t like women’s fiction. One must presume that all of us have been, to some extent, taught this from the cradle. (And don’t get me started on the general snottiness of this genre to that genre!)
So I’ve been thinking about reasons why guys are missing out by not reading women’s fiction, reasons TO buy books by women. This blog post may turn into several as I come up with more reasons and I’d really like to get input from other readers and writers, male and female, young and old–well, you get the picture. Input is welcome (though if bashing occurs, it will be followed by deleting. I can and will censor my own blog. I also delete spam. I’m looking at you whoever goes around posting Chinese characters on the blogs!)
So, a reason for (smart) guys to read a girl book:
Guys are always saying they don’t understand us, and while it’s not a perfect way to get insight, reading what we read will tell you something about women, in the same way our music and taste in music tells you something about others, or reading tells you more of that something about others.
A comment on a blog on this topic called women’s fiction “user manuals” and there is some truth in that. My husband and I saw the movie What Women Want and as we were walking back to our car, he looked and me and asked, “Does your mind run on all the time like that?” We’d been married a long time at that point and he didn’t know my mind runs ALL the time. Of course, I thought he knew this. And I thought I’d mentioned it. LOL!
So fiction and movies can be a less painful way to find out about the mysterious other sex. (And yes, the people who make movies think guys won’t go to girl flicks either, which cuts them off from yet another source of possibly useful insight into the female mind.)
In fact, if I were you guys, I’d suspect a massive, long term plot to keep you from finding out about us. And I’d do something about it right now, like head for Amazon and buy a girl book just to show the plotters that you will fall for it no longer!
Reason number two for reading girl books:
Our books are a lot of fun. We go where some guy authors don’t dare go, and I’m not just talking about the bedroom (not that I go there, because it would upset my mom). I’m talking about the human heart. Yes, the stories are fiction, but the feelings women authors bring to their fiction are real. If you like your wives, girlfriends, daughters, and female coworkers/friends, you might be surprised to find that you’d like their books, too. That they also like to read books that are both good and fun and by women.
If you’re a guy and terrified of the idea of trying a girl book, might I suggest you start with some science fiction romance. You get high octane adventure and some fictional science mixed into the girl stuff. And before you get huffy and point out that girl science is too “fictional” for you, let me point out that our present world, our real was fiction to Jules Verne. (And come on, guys, how long did it take for men to figure out the world isn’t flat?) Of course its not real. It’s fiction.
I guess my point is, that men and women bring important points of view to all areas of life. Neither one of us has the corner on total wisdom. In any situation, my husband sees things I don’t and vice versa. So let’s call that reason #3, maybe?
Adding women’s books to your reading pile will bring you the benefit of the female point of view, some female insight that might be missing from your life. And why let the assumptions of an outdated paradigm dictate your reading material? I challenge you to boldly go where some men fear to go.
Okay, let’s hear some more reasons why guys might like girl books!
Reasons for Smart Guys to buy/read Girl books