I’ve been thinking a lot about the double standard in book sales lately. Does it matter whether the protagonist is male or female to you?
There’s nothing strange about a woman reading a novel from the perspective of a boy or man, but suggest a guy read a novel about a girl and expect to receive an insincere promise to “check it out” when he gets the chance. And don’t hold your breath. He probably won't.
A close friend tried to explain it to me, saying “men have different roles then women; they can’t get anything out of a novel by a woman, because it’s not shaped to fit their specific purpose as men.” Well said, I thought, but I had a few questions.
Like isn’t every man’s purpose in life different? And then, could a book be tailored to every man’s different purpose simply because it’s told by a man? And don’t women have specific purposes in life, too? And how, then, are they able to enjoy or learn from any novels about males?
The most respected works of all time (respected by both sexes) are invariably tales of men. You might disagree, thinking “What about Austen? What about AUSTEN??” But, honestly, how many men have you caught nose deep in Sense and Sensibility or Emma? Very few.
But why should men be interested in the escapades of strong women? I guess, it’s only fair to ask then, why should women care about the battles of brave men?
For a novel to have a shot at reaching the minds of men and women of all ages, does a protagonist need facial hair, or the promise of it?