Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Paperback's Pondering's: Gender Specifying YA Books
Paperback's Pondering's is a weekly discussion when I take a topic and well, ponder about it! This week's topic is all about the gender stereotypes that we see in YA readers.
I'm just going to be upfront here and state the obvious, and that is that most YA readers a girls. Similarly, most YA book bloggers are girls as well. I think, that in the two years I've been blogging and in the even more years I've been reading YA, I have interacted with only about 3 male bookworms. Now while I'm sure there are many more out there, it is saddening that not many males are enjoying and appreciating YA books. YA books should be for everyone, but I think it's developed a stigma that it's "only for girls".
I can't tell you the amount of times I've walked into a bookstore to see a section for "Teen Girl Books". It's annoying because it's not even like all of these books are about princesses and fairies, but they're popular YA books. I've seen books like Divergent being labelled as a girl book. And why is this, because the protagonist is a girl? Many girls read books where the protagonist is a boy, i.e. Harry Potter, but that's certainly not just a boy book.
I think that another contributor to the problem is the lack of male YA authors there are. While there are a hefty few, there's no denying that girls outweigh the boys in YA. Because of this, YA writers write protagonists that are relatable to them, which most of the time, happens to be a girl. Then comes that feeling for a boy that they won't be able to relate to the protagonist, and so this becomes a book that is "girls only".
I just want more boys to stand up for YA and realize that they can read it if they want to. Most YA is more than just sunshine and rainbows, it contains real themes and great emotion that anyone can relate to. They shouldn't be afraid of the female protagonists.
It frustrates me especially that certain genres are attributed to females, especially romance. For school, the teachers always try to pick a required reading book that is "gender neutral", but this usually means little to no romance for fear that it will scare the boys off or something. Now I'm not saying that we have to read all romance novels, but teachers shouldn't be afraid of exploring different themes in books just because they're associated to one gender.
Now I'm not saying that all boys hate YA, like I said, there are a handful of great male YA bookworms and bloggers out there, I just wish there were more. Being the YA nerd that I am, I just want to make sure that I'm spreading the gift of YA to everyone and anyone, and so that includes boys. YA shouldn't have standards.
What do you think on the subject? Do you have any favourite male bloggers/bookworms?
Emily @ Paperback Princess