Saturday, March 8, 2014
I was pretty sure that it was a requirement for book bloggers to hate the dichotomy of "boy" books and "girl" books that society has imposed, but I'm starting to wonder if I was wrong.
I'm sure if I did some research, I could find out exactly when and where and why (oh my god whyyyy) there became a split between books that girls could read and boys could read. Anyone with sense would think that as society became more progressive, this dichotomy would disappear, but alas that's not the case. In fact, from what I see daily, it's only gotten worse. There's Doodles For Boys (full of spaceships and dinosaurs and monsters) and Doodles for Girls (full of unicorns and princesses and fashion). There's the Dangerous Book for Boys and the Daring Book for Girls. There's Classic Stories for Girls and Classic Stories for Boys.
JUST STOP IT.
Stop enforcing gendered expectations on children! Girls can (and do!) like robots and superheroes and dinosaurs and cars and toolboxes. Boys can (and do!) like princesses and dancing and unicorns and fashion. Stop telling people what they can and can't (and will and won't) like.
Maybe by now you're saying, duh Hayley. We've got this. We don't say these things.
But just two days ago, I read a book review where that's exactly what the blogger said. I don't want to point fingers and fling accusations. But I do want people to be aware of what they're saying.
Of course, now you're thinking, but it makes sense to say that this book would appeal more to boys or to girls! But it doesn't. Perhaps it's become a little like the old chicken and egg thought process. What came first, the penchant for boys to like adventure stories or the recommendation of adventure stories for boys? Is it nature for all girls to love romance stories or are girls just repeatedly told that they'll love any romance story?
Or maybe you're thinking, well boys need to be super interested in a book to read and boys don't read as much as girls and we really need to put forth a lot of effort to get boys to read. Nope. I say noooooooooo. And as super scientific addendum to that, I'd like to direct you to this Tumblr post. As usual, men (or in this case boys) come out ahead of women (or girls). We're so concentrated on "getting boys to read" that we pretty much refuse to acknowledge that girls can also struggle to connect to reading.
I would like to instead switch from saying "girls will love this book!" to "People who love romance and character-driven stories will love this book!" The latter has the added benefit of acknowledging people who fall outside of the girl/boy dichotomy as well. (Which is definitely a rant for another day because my god how often do we just separate between boys and girls with no other options??) I would like to focus on getting children to read: of all ages, of all genders.
So that's my rant for today. What do you guys think? Is it necessary to say boys/girls will love this book? Am I in crazy town?