So what don’t women read?

The comments on the post below for Wednesday about men readers and cats continues apace.

What I want to know is this: do the majority of women have things that they don’t read because the subject matter is perceived as “a male thing”?


So what don’t women read? — 13 Comments

  1. Well I wouldn’t read sports stories, but I don’t think its sexist so much as not being very interested in sports. I used to read Biggles as a kid and they were supposed to be stories for boys. So, no, I guess I would read anything if the story appealed no matter for whom they were written.

  2. Well, I suppose magazines filled with erotic photos of pouting female models … though admittedly there is probably not much ‘reading’ going on there!

    Otherwise I don’t recall ever being aware of women avoiding anything in particular in their choice of reading.

    On a related note, it interests me that although a great number of women read (and write) fantasy, fantasy role-playing games (or tabletop wargames) where people meet together around the table to play seem to be very much a guy thing, female players are quite rare. Whether that’s a result of social gathering patterns (girls get together to do other girlie things) I don’t know. It would be interesting to know if the male/female balance is redressed when it comes to online gaming, and pc and video-games. (Sorry glenda, that’s going a bit off topic, I know.)

  3. Not at all, Ru. Interesting topic. Am always fascinated by what makes the genders tick differently. Maybe the gaming sessions are a continuation of the all-male poker game – but for thinking guys rather than gambling ones? (I used to play a lot of penny poker in my student days, and usually I’d be the only gal at the table…they had to include me cos it was our house they were using!)

  4. I don’t read porn or gratuitous horror and a lot of blokes apparently do. Nor do I read techie stuff about cars, computers, cameras or machines of any kind, and again, a lot of blokes do. I sure some women read these things as well but if we did some field research I’d bet we wouldn’t find many. As Jung said, men are more interested in things, women in people.

  5. So techie SF remains basically male readership because of its technical nature? Must admit, I did find Eon by Greg Bear a hard slog…

  6. I wonder, did the Kzinti (being cat-like aliens) make Niven’s Known Space sf series more accessible to women readers? Just a thought… 😉

  7. I always thought it was more my lack of scientific background (except in a very biological/environmentalist sense) and therefore no ability to understand it that turned me off techie SF. It’s an interesting thought that’s my female gender at work…

  8. Ah, I’ll bet Catherine Asaro’s stories are full of credible characters with interesting interpersonal relationships, as well as being techie. I think some writers can do both.

    There was an interesting article in The Age newspaper this morning wherein writers, teachers,editors and publishers bemoaned the fact that to get boys to read at all we must give them lots of action and adventure. Sadly, action and adventure, even today, tend to glorify the male stereotype, which by implication, puts down females because they don’t usually have the heroic roles (and boys apparently won’t read about them if they do) so the stereotype is reinforced in the minds of children, both boys and girls.

  9. Elizabeth Moon goes in for female protagonists. Come to that, so does Glenda in her Mirage series. Asaro certainly uses a lot of heroines too – in fact I find many authors do these days. Female starship captains abound. Another is the Honor Harrington series, by David Weber. Honor is as female as they come, but she commands starships too.

  10. That’s just it. Three words:

    Men. Don’t. Read.

    Oh, of course there are some, but the average male doesn’t read fiction.

    Personally, I am becoming a bit tired of the must-have female protagonist. Frankly, I enjoy a book just as much whether a character is male or female. Underneath, we’re about 90% the same. I enjoy reading about the other 10%.

    Yes, I read techie SF. Loved the kzinti, but I specially loved the other alien (what was his name? Nessus?) who spent much time curled up in a ball. I also liked the science. It is totally possible to do both.

  11. Actually there are a helluva lot of men who have written books with cats taking a big role –

    Paul Gallico’s Thomasina, Tad Williams (Tailchaser’s Song),Bryce Courtney’s Matthew Flinder’s Cat, Cordwainer Smith, David Drake’s Coerli creatures who were catlike, and so on.

    Maybe cats and mysteries just don’t mix?? (According to the original commentator)

  12. The womens i’m working with ‘read’ about detective stories, tv magazines, supermarket magazines, famous people life in magazines, and stories about couple, or actuality, and family, i think that’s all.

    But it’s only a part of the tendancy as students read about many things, and we have so many girls studying…

    Harry Potter was succesfull in France, And Bernard Werber was quite read those last years (stories about Ants).

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