An Addendum to Yesterday’s Post
Yesterday, I wrote this blog: My Reaction to the Gender Coverup, and in reaction to this piece by Maureen Johnson – The Gender Coverup – and also this piece by Deborah Copaken Kogan, and even this older post by Claudia Gray – “I’m not like other girls.” I absolutely stand by everything in the blog I wrote, but I want to clarify a few things.
The first thing is something that Kiersten White mentioned on Twitter. She pointed out – rightfully – that she writes books for teen girls, so her book jackets are marked for teen girls, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s as it should be. Book covers should be marketed to your audience, and hers – like mine – is predominately female, and predominately teen.
There is nothing wrong with covers like hers or mine, or pink covers, or ones with sparkles and unicorns and lollipops and puppies, if you are writing a book about those things for an audience that likes those things. And because you write for teen girls as opposed to adult males your book isn’t automatically inferior.
There are terrible books written for teen girls, but ZOMG there are terrible books written for adult males, just like there’s terrible books written on dog training and dieting and psychology and history and every thing under the sun. Some books are bad. Some books are good. The deciding factor about whether books are good or not has to do with how they’re written – not if they’re written by women or men or for women or men.
I take issue with is two things:
1. That books about serious subjects, like photographing the war, are given “girly” “chick-lit” covers and glib titles instead of serious covers and titles, the way their male counterparts would be.
2. That books with “girly” “chick-lit” covers and subject are considered less than nearly every other type of fiction on the market. Books about romance are considered less than thrillers or action-oriented novels, even though both can be equally compelling and equally trashy.
So that’s the moral of the story.
I was angry yesterday, and it makes me sad to hear how many people related to my experience in yesterday’s blog. But I do think progress is being made. Eventually, we’ll get where we need to be.