Fantasy: Another Boys Club?
by Carrie Badorek
Page 1 of 2
When I was a young child I read everything I could get my hands on. I didnít
really understand the concept of genres, so I devoured any book that came
across my path. Fantasy, mysteries, adventure-it just didnít matter. They were
all lumped together on the meager bookshelf that made up my local bookstores
children/young adult section.
Then I become a more mature reader and moved into the "adult" part of the
store. There was the "fiction" section, which I felt free to browse. There was
the romance section, which I tried but quickly tired of. And there was the
sci-fi/fantasy section. I was afraid. I heard that only geeky boys read "those"
books. I heard that they were satanic. No girls I knew would even think about
reading such a book. My best friend, a boy, would go to that mysterious section
and come out with books that had spaceships and monsters on the cover. How
unappealing! Why would any self respecting girl want to read a fantasy novel?
It didnít matter that I loved Lloyd Alexandar and dreamed of Narnia. Fantasy
was for boys, and I was not a boy.
Iím a high school teacher now and am sad to say this attitude has not really
changed in the past 10 years. There are a few girls who will read fantasy, but
I hear "thatís a boy book" way too often when I recommend a good fantasy
read, or when I see a girl reading a fantasy book.
Why does this attitude still exist? Iím not sure, but I have a few
First and foremost, the covers. Fantasy books have covers like no others.
Often times they are dark with monstrous creatures. Most girls find that off
putting. Then you have the young heroic male protecting the busty girl. Girls
today are more independent than ever and donít want protecting, thank you very
much. I do applaud some of the more recent book covers like Glasswrightís
Apprentice and Ship of Destiny (UK version at least) for showing
females in a positive light. I would really like to see more covers showing
females in more active roles. Letís get them dressed up in breeches and put a
sword in their hand.
Of course, you canít judge a book by itís cover (and we all know thatís true
for fantasy especially), but the problem doesnít end there. As a strong,
independent woman I enjoy reading books with strong, independent female leads.
Readers want a character they can relate too. Guys, Iím sure, want a man. Big
surprise here-females want a female. I donít care if it is a spunky maid, or a
Queen. I need to have a female that is not wishy-washy and submissive. I donít
need to hear about a damsel in distress unless that damsel in distress is able
to rescue herself and then rescue the handsome prince! I have recently read
some really good books that show this very thing, and I hope the trend
continues. As readers, we need to support the authors who write "real" women.
We need to buy books like Robin Hobbís Liveship Series and Raymond Feist and
Janny Wurtís Daughter of the Empire series. Right now fantasy is "hot"
with young adults, and there is a growing number of strong female fantasy
the books. When the girls reading those books get a few years older and start
searching for adult fantasy books with strong female leads I hope they have a
wide variety to choose from.Next Page
Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Carrie Badorek, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.