On Young Women and Reading

This is just a short post, but it’s something that needs to be talked about.

The New York Times has published an article by Robert Lipsyte about the lack of young adult novels for boys. I think it’s pretty fucked, and Aja Romano already did a lot of legwork over at The Mary Sue, so I suggest you go over and read that response.

I have my own commentary, of course, but it’s relatively minor. I think it’s a weird argument to see. Male reading tendencies have been dropping consistently since, I don’t know, the late 80s or so. The fact that YA literature has turned toward (young) women over the past couple years isn’t surprising to me–in fact, I think it should have been a long time coming. In fact, up until college, I think I read three books that featured women as main characters at all: Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Literally every other novel featured men or boys as the protagonist. Young women need models, too, and they need to see other women making mistakes that don’t legitimate abusive relationships or mythologize women as idiots.

In any case, claiming that young men aren’t reading because there are no books for them is absolutely stupid. Almost the entirety of writing dedicated to emotions and adventure is written by, and from, a male perspective. If you believe that young men don’t read because they don’t have anything to read, you need to look at the Facebook pages of teenagers.



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