When my husband read my earlier post about gender and reading, he vehemently disagreed with everything I said. Rather than having this be a one-sided conversation, I offered him the chance to share his piece in response to the boy cave/gendered reading idea. While I still disagree with the notion we should offer separate spaces or push the idea that gender matters, he makes a really thoughtful argument I can’t help but share.
The Hunger Games: The full series is not inherently gendered, though I think there is more girl appeal overall. There’s a lot of themes that many boys would find alien: (I) sisterhood, (ii) a female character struggling with her emotions with two male characters and (iii) the idea of media sensationalization. True, there is a significant amount of action, which even I, as a grown man, enjoyed. But, we have to realize that, at some point, boys are not Katniss.
Glow: Glow, inherently, is a girl’s book. The book does a good job of moving between the plight of the boys and the drama of the girls’ capture, and in doing so, attempts to appeal to those traditional archetypes: the girls escape by cunning, the boys in-fight. Do you see a pattern? Girls read, boys fight. How much more interesting this could have been had the boys been captured and the girls abandoned to fend for themselves.
Divergent: I loved Divergent, as would, I suspect many boys. Why? Can you see the appeal of going from a life of rules and order to one in which there is danger and excitement? This book does an excellent job of merging the likes of boys and girls. Yet, with a female lead character with emotions for a boy, is still foreign.
Over 80 years ago, Virginia Woolf demanded a room for a woman’s one. Nowadays, it’s us guys asking. Can you let us have it? And once we have it, let’s both respective our separate spaces while having a very large common space.