Monday, April 9, 2012

Stay and Vent Awhile!! Of labels - ew!

Wuthering HeightsI think the Monday Musing post brought up a great question. Are there books that men prefer more than women?  Or that woman recommend to other women but not men (so much)?  Do we need to say the sexes are the same and enjoy the same?  I mean, Edward did read Wuthering Heights, didn't he?!

My PhotoI like Caite's response at a lovely shore breeze entitled (wonderfully) Don't Stick No Label On Me!!
See, I just do not buy into the idea that somehow woman are some monolithic group that have a significant amount in common, including what books we would..or should...all like. BTW, I feel the same about men and kids and young people or any other 'group'. And honestly, the idea that anybody and their tastes can be pigeonholed is rather distasteful in my mind, dear Huffington People.
Moby-DickShe's right, I think, on so many levels. I hate the idea of being boxed into any group, personally. Of all the books I had to read in school, I only liked Moby Dick - and that because "everyone else" said they didn't "get" it!!  Ha!!

I saw a ranting over the weekend by Alyssa R:  Why Snobs Like Joel Stein Are Wrong About Adults and YA Literature.  She was reacting - quite righteously - to a daringly nasty article in the New York Times Opinion on Adults Should Read Adult Books. As in, adults should not read Young Adult.

Can you imagine?!

As if the label of "Young Adult" is somehow more powerful than the merit of the story!!

Go ahead and read his article. It'll get ya fired up!!!

The Parasol Protectorate: Soulless, Blameless, and ChangelessObviously I am all in a tizzy over labels in general. It doesn't help that I am attempting to cluster my reviews together in themed pages with labels that would indicate what they are-ish... and I have a page titled "Middle Grade".  I'm quite irritated with labeling anything as having to do with age or gender at all. I prefer content... but then I love books like the Protectorate series that dare to throw ghosts, vampires, werewolves, mystery AND humor in the same book all at once.  Ha!!!

It's not like I never use labels, though...

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)I excused the prolific unmeaningful sex in Wise Man's Fear because "it was written by a guy". I just couldn't picture a woman dreaming up a sex fae whose grandest dream in life would be to sex a guy to exhaustion. Please... correct me if I'm wrong!!!  (And I'll be pre-ordering the third book, not to mention rereading them all when it comes out!!)

So... there are differences that beg discussion between books authored by a man or by a woman. Or between books that leave explicit sex, gore & language out to the extent of being labeled "YA" vs. those that add it all. Even the word, "genre", is a box, isn't it?  I'm not very good at categorizing stuff. As soon as a box is defined, I want to challenge it.

The Girl with the Dragon TattooOn the other hand... the origin of a story adds depth to the finished creation, too. Isn't part of the exotic draw of The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo based on it's origin in Sweden?  So many "obvious" conclusions aren't obvious to us in the USA, making the story that much more unpredictable.  Honestly, we are so much richer for opening our boundaries to stories created around the world by either sex and any ages. (Do we need "retired" books? What would they look like?!)

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)I would love to hear your opinion - and please feel free to comment on other people's opinions, since I haven't found a better way to open discussions, yet.  I started reading Grave Mercy last night, ya see, and I'm nearly 300 pages in, already, and quite distracted. So I'm behind on all sorts of blogging things. Like reviews. And author interviews.  (Just let me see if Ismae gets to serve death to these nasty bad guys and I'll get back to all that stuff).

Do you hate boxes in general?

Personally, I like being free to read any & all of the above... and I prefer to be able to discuss things without drawing opinion fire. I wish there was no such thing as discrimination of any kind... 'cause it stops freedom of expression.  People like Joel Stein should keep their stupid opinions to themselves, rather than getting paid to barf all over the place with their words like that. That's what I think.


  1. I also fight against labels. I'm certainly not what's considered your typical girl- I hate pink, and don't like romance books (I'm more into sci-fi / fantasy). In fact, when I first arrived on the internet everyone thought I was a boy. It just goes to show that labels can be a bit useless.

    1. Hm... we think a lot alike!! I love sci-fi/fantasy, although, I've adjusted my campaign against pink. My daughter's so girly, she won't hear a negative word about frills and twirly dresses, and honestly, she can beat up her older brothers while kicking up a heel all cutesy-like, so I gotta respect that.

      I'm a new follower!! Your site totally looks sci-fi!!

  2. maybe it was reading that NY Times piece that got me all riled

  3. Such an interesting post. I usually do a 'Musing Monday' post but when I saw the question on Monday morning I instantly knew I wouldn't join in with it this week, because I hate anyone saying that woman need to read certain books. 'Women' books are usually diet books, self help books and chick lit. As the thousands of female book bloggers prove, most of us aren't reading that drivel. It is usually sexist, ignorant and written by people who assume a woman's only goal in life is to be thin, get married and be a baby-making machine. I find it pretty insulting! x

    1. Ew. I didn't know I should feel quite that insulted, but now I do!

      I am happy to combat the "norm" as you describe it!!!

  4. I suppose if used in moderation, labels are not a bad thing. We all like to know 'what kind?'. The problem is when, because of the label, someone decides that it is less meaningful as a result.

    Frankly, the YA genre is so wide open and contested that I cannot believe the man attempted to form an opinion that it was 'not for adults'.

    Good discussion question! Thanks!


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