Thursday, 3 March 2005

The Gender Genre Question

Am back at work today, despite still having a flu, cough, sore throat and a slight fever. But at least you can't fry an egg on my forehead now.

While I was lying on my bed having all those weird random thoughts yesterday, I also found time to scrutinize my books (which could be found on the bookshelves above my bed, around my room and on the floor), and somewhere between staring at that Beyonce FHM cover and looking for my barley water, I was thinking, "Would a girl's bookshelves have the same kind of books as mine?"

A quick look at my shelves revealed:
  • Rows and stacks of fantasy series', with several shelves dedicated to Pratchett, Eddings, Bradley, Hobb and Jordan.
  • One shelf stacked with miscellaneous titles, ranging from fiction to non-fiction, from local authors to Grishams and Dahl. Probably makes up about 5% of my entire collection.
  • One tiny shelf of mint Transformers comics, Far Side compilations and other graphic novels
  • Another shelf full of magazines like FHM, Empire, Q and First.

I just wonder, do the different sexes read/collect/hoard different sorts of books? Does your sex determine what sort of books you read?

I'm not sure why, but some people actually consider Fantasy and Science Fiction a 'male' genre.

Surely not.

Many of my female friends also read a lot of fantasy. I even got my girlfriend into reading fantasy when we started going out, and now, we have fights over the portrayal of characters in the LOTR books versus the movie.

I don't think that fantasy is a male-oriented genre. After all, look at all the great female fantasy authors out there - Robin Hobb, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Margaret Weis - who write great fantasy novels that can be enjoyed by everyone, not just by hot-blooded nerds lusting over scantily clad heroines.

But speaking of genre-specific novels, what about romance? Romance novels DO seem to be a 'female'-oriented genre. Most sane, straight guys would rather be caught dead, than to be seen holding a Mills & Boons novel in an LRT. Even if he secretly reads it behind closed doors (most probably to get er.. 'tips'), you won't find him openly admitting to reading a Mills & Boons novel.

I can't really expand on this train of thought right now, on account of my head feeling rather wonky today (must be the Panadol again), so I'll just leave this little post as it is now.

In the meantime, what I would REALLY like to know is, do men and women read different types of books? Do certain genres cater only to specific genders?

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