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Prejudice is never good.


25. März 2015 von

Today I came across a blog article on the question, why men choose not to read books written by women on It made me think about my own reading habits and I counted all the books written by women I read last year. It's astonishing to notice, that it is not even a third of the total amount of books I read.

While I agree with the authoress that women's voices are equally important and their stories should be read by both genders, I thought about the circumstances that may contribute to the men's behaviour described in the article.

For once, literature history is - until the 20th century - a male-dominated area. Look at the canon of what is generally considered "world literature" and you will find very few female writers, whose works made it into the lists. Since canons are made by people, and those people have been exclusively male for a long, long time, it's not surprising. Those readers, who have a deeper look at the published works in the last centuries can still find a ton of books by female writers, which simply were not recognized by the male critics in such a way that they are still widely known.

But even today there is prejudice against the writings of female authors - not only uttered by men, but also by women. I am one of the critics myself, because I feel highly unsatisfied that apparently a lot of female writers restrict themselves on the genres of so-called chick literature or young adult stories. It feeds the argument, that women write about "love and feelings and shopping", which is not of much interest to many men.

In the segment of mainstream literature that has the goal of entertaining its readers rather than discussing a critical issue in a fictional text, market mechanisms are the foundation of what is to be published and what is not. If there are many women who'd like to read romance novels about young women getting woed by hot looking millionaires with unusal sexual desires, then that is what is published in large scale. And if the author of such novels is female, writing for women - then it may sell even better.

But then we, as women, should not wonder about men's aversion against books by female authors. Instead maybe we should start to suggest really good books by female authors to others, to make it known that women can write about a lot more than romance, shallow gossip or shopping lists.

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