Gendered Reading

Chatterbox: Down to Earth

Gendered Reading

Gendered Reading

 Anyone want to talk about this? I'm really passionate about the subject, especially after reading all of Shannon Hale's articles and websites. I can explain it to you guys if needed, but I also want to see how many ppl know about this? But yeah.

submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(August 3, 2023 - 11:51 am)

No clue what it is. What is it?

submitted by Sinusoidal
(August 3, 2023 - 5:51 pm)
submitted by Schroeder
(August 4, 2023 - 2:56 pm)

So basically, it's when... and here's the thing I wrote out a few weeks ago and forgot to post:


The author of Out of my Mind (and Out of my Heart, and Blended!), Shannon Hale, has written a lot about this topic, along with some other authors. Tui T Sutherland (WoF) has brought attention to it on her blog also (which is how I know about it)! But basically what it is (and even if you're not a boy or a girl, I think this is still rly important to know, oc) is when there's an idea that there are "boy books" and "girl books". Little boys, from very early on, are taught that they shouldn't read "girl books", books with pink, or princesses, or feelings. They're taught this whether it's by a librarian saying to them "I think you'd like this book EVEN THOUGH (notice this!) it's about a girl", or by their mother (or other) telling them "you can't read that! That's a GIRL book!", or when... well, lots of things. And you may not even be aware that you are planting this notion inside the heads of little boys, but you are! I used to think that only girls suffered from this, but girls AND boys (and maybe other genders, I couldn't find anything on this topic so please tell me your perspectives if you want, bc I'm trying to spread this message out to everyone) suffer! And people are deprived of good books. And gendered reading also shows itself when schools have assemblies bc, sometimes, when the schools have female authors join them, they only invite the girls to the assemblies! They don't even bother to ask the boys if they want to attend too. And it's not like the female authors only talk about things accessible for girls, they talk about their books and writing and stuff! Shannon Hale, for those who don't know, also writes the Princess in Black series, and the Princess Academy series. And this kind of thing is normal for her! When male authors come, they don't separate whoever comes, everyone gets to hear the male author books! Plus, if you ask a classroom full of little kids something like "If I said we're gonna read a book about princesses, what do the boys say?" And they'll be like "BOO!!" "and the girls?" And the girls'll go "YAYY!!!" and even I knew that without realizing I knew that! So I asked my younger bro if he likes "princess books" and he looked at me like "whaa??" And answered "of course not! That's weird!" So I asked why and he said "uhh... I just don't?" And went back to what he was doing. And my mom a few months ago like (about someone we know) "and he likes to draw DISNEY PRINCESSES!! Isn't that weird?!" and basically turns out lots adults don't know about it too. Idk, Shannon Hale explains it MUCH BETTER on her website, just press Gendered Reading. But yeah, that's basically the gist of it. And when we're teaching boys not to read "Girl books", we're basically telling them girls don't matter and that leads to unhealthy behavior later on if you know what I'm saying? But yeah. Sry for the long post admins!!

submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(August 4, 2023 - 3:11 pm)

And sry about the bad grammar, I was rushing a bit cuz had to go somewhere

submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed , The FireMist Sea
(August 4, 2023 - 5:18 pm)

What is this, I need to know so I can almost immediately form an incredibly passionate opinion on it

submitted by Lord Entropy
(August 4, 2023 - 3:50 pm)

I must correct you on something minor -

Shannon M. Draper, not Shannon Hale, is the author of Out of My Mind and its sequel. Shannon Hale wrote Real Friends and its companions. Just to avoid any confusion! Sorry 

Also, wow that's super interesting! I'll definitely research more about it when I can find the time



submitted by Periwinkle, age Pi, Somewhere in the stars
(August 4, 2023 - 6:09 pm)

OH MY SORRYYY!!! Ik 3 Sharon authors and I always get mixed up! Yes, you're right, sorry about that! :)

submitted by CelineBurning Bright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(August 4, 2023 - 6:55 pm)

Okay, cool, strong opinion formed, as you were

submitted by Lord Entropy
(August 4, 2023 - 8:24 pm)

I agree, down with pointlessly gendered things!!

submitted by Sterling, age they/them, lost in a fantasy world
(August 5, 2023 - 9:31 am)

Yeah, I'm very much, uh, let's say "gender casual." I've always enjoyed things made for any gender based demographic. There's nothing wrong with writing a book for a particular group, but you shouldn't try to leave anyone out, That's messed up. I'm willing to bet this is just sort of a symptom of a bigger issue. Too many books for younger audiences aren't really made to be anything more than a product. Anything you write should be intended for yourself. I don't see the point of writing for anyone else. It's always cool when other people enjoy it though.

Idk, yeah gendered reading ain't cool. Gender is just a social construct anyhow.

submitted by Lord Entropy
(August 5, 2023 - 2:09 pm)

Thank you to everyone who responded!! And, OH MY HOWWW?? 2 DAYS AFTER I MADE THIS THREAD AND I JUST STARTED READING AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS AND THE AUTHORS NOTE AT THE VERY FRONT (good thing I never skip anything in a book! It was on the very front page that's usually blank) TALKED ABOUT THIS SUBJECT (although I'm not certain the author knew this subject existed I'll have to check out her website later) AND WHAT A COINCIDENCE AND HERE'S WHAT SHE SAID (tho I cut some parts out) WITH WHAT I THOUGHT AS IT WENT CUZ WOW. No offense to the author sorry this is just what I was thinking

"It did not seem wise to try to load a book for boys with so much personal freight (umm, seriously?! So many things wrong with that..). Conventional wisdom (wow. "Conventional wisdom?" Wow.) holds that boys do not like emotional books. They like action, plot, humor, and graphic appeal (I mean, who doesn't? But you're just assuming what "they" like cuz they're boys?)..."

"I then set out to write the book I wanted to have read when I was a child (good for you!)..."

"In the months before the book first came out ten years ago, I was worried I had alienated my attended audience (all right, alienated?! Seriously? And again with the intended audience (I mean, no disrespect, I understand having an audience, Ig, but..)? Am I not reading this? Did I not steal this book from my territorial brother who didn't even really want it (but I kinda made him get it cuz it was a summer reading prize and I had already used up my free book) to read it??)..."

"But what of the boy readers who are not supposed to like books that explore complex emotional territory (not supposed to... maybe this author's gonna come through after all..)? I get more letters from boy readers than from any other single group. Some are eloquent, many more just say, I love this series, when will the next one be out? (All right, all right...) From the countless letters and emails I've received, I've come to the conclusion (yes??) that the common thinking about "boy books" does boys a disservice. The emotional lives of boys are as complicated as the emotional lives of girls and not enough books capture the complexity. What I believe now is that I have to reach higher and work harder to create characters that resonate with my readers. And that has become my mission (YEAHHH THANK YOU ALL RIGHTTTT!!!)..."


And just cause, here's one piece of praise from the bunch on the next page!


"'I've got a young guy who keeps asking me for more Al Capone books, and he doesn't mean biography. I think he must've read Al Capone Does my Shirts ten times by now, because nothing else will do!'"


But yeah :) excited to start this book! 

submitted by CelineBurningBright, age As Needed, The FireMist Sea
(August 5, 2023 - 8:43 pm)