The Alienation of Men in Fiction


by Aaron Doudy

That’s right. It’s time to analyze culture and business! Aren’t you all excited? You’re not?

Shut up.
We’re going to talk about it anyway
. Stretch those brain muscles of yours. It’s good for them.

Anyway, it’s no secret that in the publishing industry the majority of readers in their audience are female. Have you ever asked why? Ah yes, the ever-present question that is stomped out of us by all our fascist second grade teachers, am I right?
Just me?
Well, this is awkward.

As I was saying, I’ve often wondered why the divide is so large between men and women when it came to reading fiction. Teachers and the media seem to push the idea that men just don’t like fiction novels.

Personally I find this explanation lacking at best, and a downright lie at worse. Why, you ask? Simple. The majority of readers of graphic novels and players of story driven video games are male. So what’s with this disconnect? Do males just lack the patience to read when there are no flashing colors?

I suppose it’s not impossible, but still odd. Last I checked the vast majority of Science Fiction and Fantasy writers of the past were male, and the majority of readers of these novels were men as well. Let’s face it, when comparing a complex master piece like Dune to a childish mess like The Hunger Games it’s not difficult to see which was harder to read and who read them. So then how do the supposed ADHD filled boys and men read the much harder Science Fiction and Fantasy of the past, but can’t pay attention long enough to read the much simpler, and arguably less than skillfully crafted, works of the present?

I hate to point this out, but modern novels alienate men. You can’t even say that the men and boys of the present don’t read anymore since they overwhelmingly fill the non-fiction genres like History and Military Science. Should I put my tin foil hat on yet? Are the publishers doing this on purpose?

Hold up. We don’t want to be hypocritical quite yet. After all, I hold to the idea that women aren’t equally represented in video games because women generally don’t like triple A gaming. The combination of male competitive nature, hard core invested stories with politics involved, and arguably high amount of violence in video games tends to push women away. So isn’t it possible that something about men’s nature pushes them away from novels when given options like comic books and video games?

In a word: no. Na. Nope. Obviously the above points I brought up play into this, but most importantly it’s not video games in general that push the vast majority of ladies away. It’s the type of game. If we include your classic arcade game or social media game like Candy Crush women dominate the player base in these titles. Put simply, women like a different type of game, and Facebook and the like are catering to them. That then begs the question: Why aren’t publishers trying to find that novel genre or style that feeds the male demographic?

As I’ve mentioned it’s not complicated. There are generally two types of guys when it comes to fiction. You have the ones who want the simple blow up the bad guys romp, the comic book crowd, and the ones who want complex Space Operas or fantasy worlds like Lord of the Rings, the non-fiction crowd. Now there are guys like me who like both, but you get the picture.

If a simple man like myself could see this easy way to expand demographics, and thus increase profits, why do publishers refuse to publish books that cater to men and boys? It’s not like they’d have to stop publishing your mystery smut vampire garbage or want to be intellectual vomit targeting young women. They’d just publish a few books here and there to expand their sales, and get boys and men into reading fiction novels again. But nope… Not doing that are they?

To my conservative/business orientated mind this is pure insanity. Money is there for the taking why not take it? Excuse me. I should’ve known basic economics was lost to the left dominated literary world.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh. It’s not like any of them bothered to study business or economics. So whatever, let’s instead try to understand this shift. In simple terms, it’s sexism.

Calm down you blue haired harpies in the feminists world! We aren’t talking about sexism against women. You can put away your pitchforks and “triggered” blog posts now. Shhh… are they gone? Whew now we can actually have a conversation.

Stop that! Put away your tin foil hats. Though thanks to the election, and the clear corruption between the News Media and the Democrats, I’m tempted to put my own on. Let’s stay away from the “conspiracy” talk because I don’t think you need one.

I have a challenge for you. Go through a list of literary agents, and count three things: First how many women there are, next how many of them want “multi-cultural” hub hub and LGBT stories, and finally which one wants more “female” or marginalized voices. I could add more, but you get the point. You done? Notice a pattern?

That’s right. Almost every agent is a woman. Almost all of them want the same type of stories, and almost all of them are lefties. The oddest thing for me from a business standpoint is the sheer amount of calls for LGTB word soup stories.

I have no venom against that crowd, but from a numbers standpoint the market doesn’t have the demand for so many alternative lifestyle stories. Outside of Hollywood in normal people land LGTB stories are very niche, and rarely make extensive profits.

Again, calm down. I’m just talking about the money. If a publisher or an agent wants to push these stories that’s fine, but they should look for at least some main stream books to float these passion projects.

Oh wait! I just got distracted by logic and business theory. That’s not allowed in literature! Dear me, it’s insane.

Seeing the intense amount of less than moral attacks by feminists on the arts in recent years like during the Gamergate madness, it’s not hard to make the assumption that something similar is happening in literature. These women are the gatekeepers of the industry, discounting self-publishing, and they have a natural dislike for male-orientated stories. After a few generations men have taken the hint that there is nothing for them in written fiction.

For an expiring novelist like myself who wants to make a fun hybrid between the shoot-em-up type stories and the vast complex epic fantasies this is distressing. Say I write this type of novel designed to get men interested in reading fiction again.

 Even if I make it past this hurtle of agents who don’t care about money, only selling books they feel passionate about (and they never feel passionate about masculine books,) I still won’t make it past a publisher house full of editors who have the same mindset. You think I’m exaggerating? This kind of discrimination is openly and wildly practiced in the industry even smacking down established writers like Nick Cole.

So what do we do? I’m not sure myself, but first we should all know about it. The war for your mind is real. Knowledge comes first so let everyone know. Even better if you have the means start your own publishing firm since your competition is floundering thanks to these kinds of business or rather lack of proper business strategies.

That I think is the way to go. We need more competition in the market, publishers and then agents who actually treat it like a business and not an SJW brainwashing tool. So if you have the means, go for it, and let me know. I’ll send you my novel in heartbeat.

Anyway to sum up, publishers don’t care about profit anymore. They care more about pleasing the narrative around them. Ideology is at its core, and thus they push men and boys out of the industry thanks to third wave feminism. Masculinity is under attack. So let’s fight back.

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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="156193">3 comments</span>

  • All sounds correct but how then do they – agents and publishers – fund their narrow mindset. Are you saying women will buy any [rubbish] book if its marketed at them as “victims”

  • Sounds as if you are examining a very small subset of data and extrapolating too much from it. There is plenty of male geared Sci-Fi fantasy written for adults. Just read some Jim Butcher, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, Kevin Hearne, Neil Gaiman (he writes more than comics!), Piers Anthony, Simon R Green, George R R Martin, or Terry Goodkind. That’s just to name a few. Just because there now exists an equal amount of female driven fantasy novels, and young adult fantasy novels (which is what the Hunger Games is, it’s actually written for 12 to 18 year olds), does not mean there are no books for adult men. Also: Who says men don’t read anymore? I know plenty of men that read. My (second) husband loves to read, so did my first (late) husband. My father reads all the time, so does my brother. Many intellectually driven men, enjoy relaxing with a book. If fewer men are reading, could it be less about the lack of male driven Sci-Fi Fantasy, and more about readily available games/internet/comics? Many men who 50 years ago would have been reading Conan the Barbarian, are now playing Age of Conan online. Many men who would have been reading Tolkien, are now playing Lord of the Rings online. Also: I believe you mean aspiring novelist, not expiring (unless you are dying)…. Which could explain why you aren’t getting published.

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