Men and Books and Things
Says here that men aren’t reading like they used to:
Men are giving up on reading books and instead are switching to movies, internet and blogs… OnePoll did a study on behalf of UK based Reading Agency and talked to over 2,000 young and adult men. 63% of men admit they simply don’t read as much as they think they should. Many blamed a lack of time while, a fifth said they find it difficult or don’t enjoy it.
I’ve been worried about this for some time. It’s true; ever since the mid-90s, when the internet became The Internet, I’ve found I spend more and more time futzing around online, and consequently, my book-reading has declined precipitously. I had to consciously make an effort to walk away from the computer and pick up a book. Getting a Nook, and then a Nexus, helped with that. And so, incidentally, does running this book thread.
The study also drew the interesting conclusion that men are not visiting libraries or bookstores anymore. They tend to shop for more practical things or zone out on a movie on television or Netflix. Women on the other hand tend to loan books to each other and participate in the bookstore scene.
Sounds about right.
The growing preponderance of female readers has been going on for a good while now. A more interesting question is why that is. Men say they “don’t enjoy it.” That might be because the bulk of books coming out of Big Publishing are purchased for publication by a very small group of mostly Ivy-League educated women who either consciously or unconsciously censor their purchases to keep them in line with their own progressive, politically correct prejudices.
So male heroes (if there are any – the male hero is becoming something of an endangered species in pop lit) must demonstrate sensitivity, an abhorrence of violence, and other such tendencies to make them more attractive to female readers. My favorite example of such is a well-known urban fantasy hero “tough guy” who actually vomits whenever he is forced to use violence.
Guys hate that sort of stuff. Women love it. It reinforces their notions about How The World Should Be.
And so the whole thing has become self-reinforcing. Chick-lit has driven men out of the readership, thus validating the feminine (and feminized male) editor’s opinion of what sort of books they need to buy.
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