The Reading Habits of a Female Homo Sapien

February 12, 2014 Discussion 5

Discussion

The female homo sapien is often seen perusing a Romance Novel, usually with a “bodice-ripper” cover. Although she craves “independence” and “strength”, her innermost desire to be taken of by her male counterparts is evidenced in her choice of reading material. She is rarely seen clutching an action adventure, unless it is a Dan Brown novel, and rarer still a gritty fantasy fiction or space opera. In fact, if one sees a woman, as they are called, reading such novels, it can be deduced that she is either a) influenced by the males in her life, or b) only reading it because it’s the current trend (such as A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin).

Evidence points to female homo sapiens not having any sense of what makes a worthy text outside of their natural role of a caregiver. Women are excellent at writing, and predominantly enjoy, texts centred on romance, child-rearing and domestic duties, and are hardly concerned with politics, adventure, and anything else that similarly challenges their inferior minds.

The reading habits of a female homo sapien may thus be summarised as follows: stories concerned feminine pursuits are preferred, with women rightly avoiding masculine narratives. These stories, by virtue of being preferred by women, are obviously lesser and should be avoided by men. It is unacceptable that a man should consider reading feminine stories – to propose that a man might find a woman’s story the least bit interesting is preposterous. Females may seek to better themselves through exposure to male stories, but there is, and never will be, any need for the male mind to empathise with the female.

At this point, it is appropriate to indulge in a case study, one of book review website called, rather unimaginatively, Speculating on SpecFic. The details are not important, suffice to say that it was begun at a time when the owner had found themselves away from their friends, and wished to share their book-related thoughts via the Internet (a rather ingenious invention, and the topic of a later discussion).

The design of grey-black-leaves, a relic from the websites earliest incarnation, has become a kind of signature. When the owner expressed interest in creating an avatar for the website, they were drawn to the idea of owls. Frequently symbolising the wise and learnéd, an owl seemed a perfect choice of champion for the small website.

Time went on, and external websites began linking and talking about this website. Invariably, the owner was assumed to be male. An understandable conclusion given our earlier discussion of the reading habits of the female homo sapien.

A well known author, who shall go unnamed, once linked to a review of his book on his website, calling the owner of the review “he” multiple times.

Perhaps it was the stress of the job, or some other mitigating factor, but the owner of Speculating on SpecFic decided to break the silence. They expressed that although they found it humorous that others assumed they are male, they would have liked this author (amongst their favourites) to know that they are in fact … female.

On reflection, it should have been clear that the author of that website is not male. There are far too many paranormal young adult books reviewed there.

Back to our story of the reviewer (female!) and author, the author soon contacted the reviewer and told her that the reason she was often assumed to be male could probably be her choice of owl avatar. He cited the blue glasses and shaggy eyebrows as evidence.

The female is clearly dim-witted, as she had not thought of her owl avatar as gendered before this very moment. And afterward, she felt that blue glasses and shaggy eyebrows could hardly be characteristics which evidenced the owl being male even though it has been established by society that females shape their eyebrows using a variety of painful methods, and always sport pink and purple accessories.

The female spent one night recolouring her owl avatar, and the next day, the face of Speculating in SpecFic had changed into a decidedly pink owl, with purple glasses and neat, shaped eyebrows.

The decision was met with applause from some quarters and derision from others. The response to the reviews which appeared on the website became rather interesting as well. Comments ranging from variants of “I didn’t know you’re a girl” to “Wow, you read a lot of fantasy for a girl.” Some were from other females who rejoiced at finding another pseudo-reviewer within their midst, others from male readers and reviewers who were surprised (some claim pleasantly so).

Her personal favourite remains “You have great taste for a girl.”

Female reviewers can hardly be taken seriously in the industry. They can play at the websites, changing the colours every two weeks or so, chattering incessantly to one another about which romantic team they are on, and pretending to write thoughtful reviews of matters they clearly have no grasp of. There is also an alarming proclivity for the use of animated images, called gifs, which are powered by witchcraft.

One of the biggest changes the female behind Speculating on SpecFic has noticed in the last two years, since the change of avatar, is that references to her reviews rarely contain the pronoun “she”. They tend to simply refer to the website as an entity without recognising there is a mind behind it. We agree – anything to distract the readers from the opinion of a female is welcome.

Our studies into the reading habits of female homo sapiens have revealed that many of them read in the young adult category – stories which feature protagonists between the ages of fourteen to eighteen. Romance seems to be a defining element of these books, as do Love Triangles. We have thus far been unable to pinpoint why these stories are relevant or why so many teenaged females tend to enjoy stories in which they see themselves and their peers. Who is interested in the inane thoughts of any female, much less one that hasn’t reached maturity?

We conclude our report by suggesting that establishments that wish to provide books to female readers do so by clearly indicating suitable books. Pink and purple colour palettes are preferred, as are cursive, curly fonts and feminine icons. Female figures used on covers will further illustrate the appropriateness of a text for females.

To contrast, we suggest that masculine books me marketed through strong, blockish type-faces, solid colours and shapes, and figures of men (fully clothed and preferably carrying weapons) on the cover.

Book synopses should focus on feminine qualities when books are aimed at women – always be sure to reference the romance. Males, on the other hand, are singularly and supremely unconcerned with romance, despite making up half the population and writing countless poems about that state of mind throughout history, and synopses of masculine stories should not reference it at all.

The female mind is feeble, and unable to grasp ideas of science, history, politics and war. Violence is generally abhorred by all female readers. The authors hope that this report into the reading habits of a female homo sapien have instructed and enlightened. Upkeep of the divide between the masculine and the feminine is of utmost importance, and we encourage all readers to police the reading habits of any females they know with diligence.

Author’s note: Better yet, tell the females around you what they can and can’t read, what they enjoy, what they understand and don’t understand. Judge a masculine story higher than a feminine one on all counts, for it is undoubtably more relevant and enjoyable. Eschew all references and allusions to romance, for it strangles the essence of manhood. And never, ever let a woman believe she can read whatever she likes and have opinions on it.

It’s one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

Divider

These ideas have been rattling around in my head for some time now. This is the way have fallen out. My intent isn’t to be ground breaking, or even unique, but I felt it was important to highlight my own experience in the light of other stories I have read recently.

If in doubt, assume I am being sarcastic.

5 Responses to “The Reading Habits of a Female Homo Sapien”

  1. Rochelle Sharpe

    I’m surprised, but should I be really? I always assumed you were female, probably because all the book bloggers I know of, but one, are female. As a female that loves reading fantasy, I never once assumed it was odd or an unfemale thing to do.
    Men claim they don’t like reading romance, but some of the most romantic books I have read are epic fantasy books written by men.

    The way some people think is absolutely incredible.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…A Writerly Update 18.

    • Shaheen

      Yeah!! It only takes one to stumble across a few reddit/facebook/twitter conversations to see this though – men claiming they hate romantic plots and OH MY GOD can the women stop writing everything around the romance between their central characters???

      Because Rand Al’Thor didn’t have three wives, right?

      And of course, my favourite things are when people say things like “I want real books, with realistic characters, like that bloke Robin Hobb writes!” and I think to myself, ohhh you poor poor reader. Jude Fisher: another author who is frequently pulled out as an example of a *man* doing it right.

      Both women, people!

      And then there are those readers who loudly and proudly say they never pick up a woman author. And those who say now they avoid authors with initials instead of first names (in the form of A. B. Lastname) because there’s a high chance that’s a female author too.

      So, yah. Totally A THING that’s real, and honestly, it’s very sad.

  2. Bec @ Ransom Reads

    BAHAHA I love the way you’ve done this post. I read it in the tone of a 19th century-ish British scientist (male) and it added to the hilarity.

    I can’t believe people used to think you were male! Looking around nowadays, most bloggers I know of are female (though they are mostly YA bloggers come to think of it…) And I, a teenage girl, often find romance to be the least enjoyable part of any book. Oh how times have changed.

    Thanks for this great post. It’s highly entertaining 😀
    Bec @ Ransom Reads recently posted…Wanted: Dead or Alive #7

    • Shaheen

      You read it in exactly the tone I wrote it in, but I’d imagined an American.

      Actually, and I should have made it clearer in this post, I was never mistaken for male amongst YA authors and reviewers, but was frequently mistaken for male by authors and reviewers of non-YA fantasy and sci-fi.

      In fact, I’d argue that even today, in my fourth year of blogging, I’m still not acknowledged by a lot of the reviewers who review predominantly non-YA.

      I follow these people, and I have no real interest in being applauded or anything by them, but I find it hilarious because these *are* absolutely the kind of people who believe that YA is a waste of time and thus don’t really KNOW anything about it. It’s the reason they don’t take my work seriously, because I review 2 – 4 YA books for every non-YA I review (word count wise I read both equally).

      For example, one of them recently read The Raven Boys, and the proceeded to rave about it for a few days, and I sat here in fits of laughter because they’d enjoyed a YA book when they had been dismissive before. These are people who are constantly surprised when they find a YA book they like, and it baffles me why they don’t … I don’t know … look around my blog and others like mine to find other awesome books they’d probably like. I resisted the urge to recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Pure, and a few other brilliantly crafted YA books though, and in hindsight, maybe I should have.

      But yeah, back to the point of my reply: the idea is that only men read non-YA speculative fiction, so I was by default assumed to be male because of my reading choices, and when I embraced that I’m a girl and made the blog pinkish and stuff, I know I lost followers and lost the attention of the few non-YA blogs that were following me.

      I’m not saying men aren’t following me, I know they are. But I’m glad that the men who are following me now are doing so because they respect or like my work, and not because they thought I was a guy.

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