When I do book signings, most of my line is made up of young girls with their mothers, teen girls alone, and mother friend groups. But there’s usually at least one boy with a stack of my books. This boy is anywhere from 8-19, he’s carrying a worn stack of the Books of Bayern, and he’s excited and unashamed to be a fan of those books. As I talk to him, 95% of the time I learn this fact: he is home schooled.
There’s something that happens to our boys in school. Maybe it’s because they’re around so many other boys, and the pressure to be a boy is high. They’re looking around at each other, trying to figure out what it means to be a boy—and often their conclusion is to be “not a girl.” Whatever a girl is, they must be the opposite. So a book written by a girl? With a girl on the cover? Not something a boy should be caught reading.
But something else happens in school too. Without even meaning to perhaps, the adults in the boy’s life are nudging the boy away from “girl” books to “boy” books. When I go on tour and do school visits, sometimes the school will take the girls out of class for my assembly and not invite the boys. I talk about reading and how to fall in love with reading. I talk about storytelling and how to start your own story. I talk about things that aren’t gender-exclusive. But because I’m a girl and there are girls on my covers, often I’m deemed a girl-only author. I wonder, when a boy author goes to those schools with their books with boys on the covers, are the girls left behind? I want to question this practice. Even if no boy ever really would like one of my books, by not inviting them, we’re reinforcing the wrong and often-damaging notion that there’s girls-only stuff and you aren’t allowed to like it.
I hear from teachers that when they read Princess Academy in class (by far the most girlie-sounding of all my books) that the boys initially protest but in the end like it as much as the girls, or as one teacher told me recently, “the boys were even bigger fans than the girls.”
Another staple in my signing line is the family. The mom and daughters get their books signed, and the mom confides in me, “My son reads your books on the sly” or “My son loves your books too but he’s embarrassed to admit it.” Why are they embarrassed? Because we’ve made them that way. We’ve told them in subtle ways that, in order to be a real boy, to be manly, they can’t like anything girls like.
Though sometimes those instructions aren’t subtle at all. Recently at a signing, a family had all my books. The mom had me sign one of them for each of her children. A 10-year-old boy lurked in the back. I’d signed some for all the daughters and there were more books, so I asked the boy, “Would you like me to sign one to you?” The mom said, “Yeah, Isaac, do you want her to put your name in a girl book?” and the sisters all giggled.
As you can imagine, Isaac said no.
This is where I feel called to fight sexism. in these moments where girl things are “stupid” for boys.
I can read comics and like superheroes, but he can’t enjoy books with a lead female or like dolls because THAT’S FOR GIRLS AND IT’S LAME.
No. Girl stuff is not lame. It’s just as cool as boy stuff, but sexism has put girl things in a category one step below boy things and that is unacceptable.
Learn to accept praise. I know, I know, when someone runs up and says “I love your work!” your inclination is to mumble an apology for wasting their time with your crappy art, or to say “It’s not that great.”
This is not about you.
If somebody says “I love your art,” and you say “My art is awful,” then guess what? You just insulted them. You have told them, in effect, that what they love is crap and that they have poor taste. Clamp your teeth down on that urge, smile, and say “Thank you.” If you can’t think of a single other thing to say, I make you a gift of this phrase—”Thank you. You’re very kind.” Say this when you want to scream that you messed up the knees on the horse and the tail on the fox and the eyeballs on the woman. If you have to say it every single time, then do. You don’t have to believe it, you don’t have to jump on the table and say “That’s right, I’m AWESOME!”—
hey remember that meme where we gave each other various fannish topics and then made VOICE POSTS
i miss that
put various fannish topics (fictional ladies! or dudes! or ships! or specific storylines! or narratives in general! YOU KNOW THE DRILL) that you feel like hearing me make indignant and/or joyful noises about in my askbox
Old English (Anglo-Saxon):Eft he axode, hu ðære ðeode nama wære þe hi of comon. Him wæs geandwyrd, þæt hi Angle genemnode wæron. Þa cwæð he, "Rihtlice hi sind Angle gehatene, for ðan ðe hi engla wlite habbað, and swilcum gedafenað þæt hi on heofonum engla geferan beon."
Middle English:In þat lond ben trees þat beren wolle, as þogh it were of scheep; whereof men maken clothes, and all þing þat may ben made of wolle. In þat contree ben many ipotaynes, þat dwellen som tyme in the water, and somtyme on the lond: and þei ben half man and half hors, as I haue seyd before; and þei eten men, whan þei may take hem.
Early Modern English:But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love!
Modern English:Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.
Pointless dribble:Omg, lol, def totes ridic, c u ltr
“I met my wife at a Star Trek convention. She was study abroad from France and spoke little English, and I didn’t know a lick of French. So, for the first few months of our relationship, we communicated by speaking Klingon.”—Hear more tales of nerdery in this week’s Pwn Up! (via dorkly)
“One day she came back grinning her horsey grin, her hair all tangled and her clothes covered in mud, clutching a raggedy bunch of purple and green flowers for Father. Sansa kept hoping he would tell Arya to behave herself and act like the highborn lady she was supposed to be, but he never did, he only hugged her and thanked her for the flowers.”—
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
here’s a reminded the starks used to be happy and arya would pick flowers for her dad
can you imagine arya picking flowers for someone now