Breaking the Stereotypes
Contributor
Written by
Nino Gugunishvili
January 2020
Contributor
Written by
Nino Gugunishvili
January 2020

 

        “Oh, no, this book is not for you, it’s for women! You won’t enjoy reading it, don’t even bother.” I’ve said it myself quite often, about my own writing, following the deeply rooted stereotype that books written by women are read predominantly by women, because women relate to the stories told in women’s fiction books, don't they?  it’s a female world, their struggles, their uncertainties, their imperfections and joys and heartbreaks,love affairs and losses, achievements and hopes.  

“Why would men read about female characters? Those life hustles, filled with romances and happy endings? Not in their lifetime!” My inner voice tells me, and so I hide my writing hurriedly, from readers other than women. Why am I doing this you might ask? Is it a matter of self-confidence or a fear of a rejection?

 Maybe, as a woman author, I’m feeling more secure, more confident within female audience, or maybe, it’s an easier path I choose, tackling the subjects that in my mind are more interesting, appealing and relatable to women readers? Am I willing to find loyal readers, and for me, loyal readers are women?   Why do I accentuate that I’m a woman author? Am I trying to emphasize that being a woman author means a certain specific tone, or voice? A specific subject I’m writing on, that only women would care about?   

Why, when I think about the readers, I see women my age, younger and older, I can easily visualise them in every possible detail, thinking about their habits, their aspirations, their challenges, but I never think of an audience of men, who might as well read and possibly enjoy works of women writers?

I’m not familiar with the figures on how many men vs women have read Jane Austen, or Virginia Woolf, or Helen Fielding, but the fact that they are acknowledged and admired for their brilliant talent by so many people globally, surely  speaks to itself.  The question is, does it really matter whether it’s a man or a woman behind a good writing, behind that book you’ve recently read, that story that keeps you wanting to get back and savor it again and again?

 I think, as women authors we tend to be entrapped in too much of our own cliched assumptions, narrowing our readership ourselves, as if  a gift intended for your close friend, unexpectedly ended in the hands of a total stranger instead.   

Would you rather rip that gift out of a stranger’s hand screaming, “No, sorry, it’s not for you!” Or would you laugh, and hope he or she really enjoys it and maybe even sends you a thank you note someday?  The only way to know it, is to try. Why not to do it in the new year? 

    

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