There’s an interesting (if sometimes depressing) conversation going on about who reads science fiction and whether the trappings of the genre itself discourages girls from reading it over in the comments of the Aetiology post I linked to about hot girls supposedly not reading SF. Several women have said they felt that reading SF growing up was something they had to keep quiet.
The stigma from other kids I noticed growing up was just associated with being a reader, period. Being a reader was odd. I never cared, so I read what I wanted, and honestly never felt like a title from a certain genre was any less okay than another in social terms. Was I just oblivious?
At any rate, I’d think that, along with a thousand other things, Harry Potter finally put the nail in this stigma’s coffin. (Not to mention the LOTR movies.) Am I still being oblivious?
3 thoughts on “By the Way”
Sci fi reading was something that I kept low key, although my friends knew about it. I think they thought it lended an air of eccentricity to me and they chose to find it amusing. My fear though, of losing said friends caused me to not pursue deeper friendships with those who had more obvious leanings towards my geek interests. It is something that I now slightly regret.
Then again, it didn’t stop me from admitting that I spent my saturdays and sundays alone watching Empire Strikes Back all day long in the movie theater.
I am not a sci fi reader but where I grew up being a reader was odd, period. No one was interested in creating an hierarchy based on genres.
I don’t know that Harry Potter put a nail in the coffin, considering those ridiculous “adult” editions that were published. The LOTR films are generally seen as an exception to the rule, I think. It doesn’t help that every rash of fantasy film adaptations have been of children/YA books. (Have you seen those Eragon trailers? *shudder*) It is hard for me to say either way because I live in a town populated by a major geeky university.
Yeah, there was a big stigma for me. Though I was okay with reading fantasy books pulled from the kids or young adult section — it was something to do with moving up to books in the “adult” SF section. And something to do with the often highly-sexualized men and women portrayed on the cover art… I think I was worried about my Dad freaking out or something. And I’ve never quite shaken the sensation that I have to stare down bookstore clerks and librarians (of both genders) when I go to check out.
Though these days I also feel like I’m staring down grocery store clerks whenever I purchase Vogue or Cosmo. And I’m ambivalent about buying Scientific American. I hate being judged by my reading material.
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