By - Relentless_Curiosity
I think the new covers are more gender ambiguous and look a lot more like adult fantasy books.
The old covers however looked quite girly and very YA. I can understand why some people would look at those books and think they cater towards more of a female target demographic.
I think it’s stupid for people to think it’s chick lit just because the main character was a girl. Is Harry Potter only for boys because Harry was a boy?
Have the ToG covers changed? Or just the Acotar? That's a great point! I immediately thought of HP reading this as well.
Also what even is a girly cover? I never pick up a book and think "oh this is a boyish cover, this isn't meant for me" so why does it happen the other way round? I think this attitude speaks more about society's assumptions about masculinity and that to be a man you must reject anything feminine, than it does to a book actually appealing to one gender more than another.
Men are discouraged from liking anything feminine ever, whereas women are pushed into liking 'masculine' things.
Women should read books with male protagonists because that's the 'default' but men reading books about women? Oh no that's only for women /s
Definitely! Patriarchal values restrict men just as much as they restrict women.
Oh for some reason I assumed his post was about ACOTAR and now SJM in general. As far as I know only ACOTAR covers have changed.
Damn, I hate the ToG covers, I was hoping to replace my set. At least the spines are nice.
I’m a male and she’s my favorite author
that makes 3 of us
Make that 4
Definitely intended and marketed for women. Just focusing on the smut alone.. that is written for het/bi women for sure.
But I love when I see that guys are reading "women's" lit. That young men are enjoying literature that is about women's experiences, from women's perspectives, written by women, rather than lit purely from the male perspective, written by men speaks to how ideas around gender, and specifically masculinity are evolving.
Props for not subscribing to antiquated gender norms and ideas about what is "for men" or "for women".
Who is your favourite character BTW?
Me from 3 years ago would've seen that last question and gone into a frenzy. I reread the books fairly recently, but not recently enough to be as confident in my choosing of a favorite character (yes this is a big deal for me, I have to choose carefully).
However, I do remember Rowan Whitethorn being the embodiment of everything I wanted to be as a man, flaws included. Rhysand is amazing but a little too cheeky for me, sorry folks.
Overall though, no characters consistently brought a smile to my face more than Dorian, Manon, and Amren.
Great choices! SJM gets heaps of flack for her characters being too masculine or whatever. I find it super interesting that Rowan embodied being a man to you. I agree Amren is a riot and I love Dorian and Manon.
Really? I think her characters are just fine in regards to masculinity (/femininity). And yes, Rowan personified the ideals I believed to create the *ideal man*. Perhaps for different reasons, but I think a decent portion of the women in this fanbase might agree with that notion.
Definitely there is alot of love for Rowan. I don't agree with the hate toward Maas, there is just alot of it. Just google Maas and you'll be flooded with hate surrounding her male characters.
Interesting. I do think the article overexaggerates but now I'm having a bit of a crisis LMAO. The flaws that the article points out are flaws that I do see with not only TOG characters, but myself as well. I'm now questioning *why* exactly I was so entranced by Rowan.
But anyways that's besides the point, I think overall her characters are very well-written and I wouldn't say on net they contain too much of any particular trait.
And it's fictional so who cares right? people be swooning over the Grishaverse's Darkling even after he mutilated a girl and his own mother, Maas' men have nothing on that. I just thought it was interesting hearing a man's take on the character's and Maas in general, seeing as she's pretty controversial and the opinions about characters are so polarised.
Don't have a crisis lol
but personally I have a regular crisis everytime I devour a book with an enemies to lovers trope, like what does this say about me? I also read The Mortal Instruments and just compartmentalised the incest storyline.... so... yeah.
Meh, reading apparently helps prevent brain deterioration, so imma gonna read and try not to self analyse too much.
Maas' characters are definitely not the worst the bunch, not even close. I personally think they're actually on the more compassionate side of the spectrum comparatively, but that's just me.
I don't think my opinions on the books in general deviate from the status quo that much either. Not sure if and how me being a man comes into play, but assuming it does, it hasn't impacted my love for the stories at all.
It doesn't, well it shouldn't come into play.
Honestly, I'm a grad student doing my thesis in the realm of gender studies and so I get really into men's/women's interpretations of the world around them. I love pulling out differences and similarities in tastes, opinions, pov etc in unlikely places like a YA books subreddit. Gender norms are a social construct but just because it's social doesn't make it any less real, we understand our reality through the social world and without deep diving into sexism and inequality, I think it's important to understand the nuances of this complex social ether, that says "women and men are inherently different" (& I don't mean biologically), that we continue to perpetuate. If we don't have a good understanding of these supposed "inherent differences" it will continue to permeate how we perform our gender. Sorry that devolved into a bit of a weird rant.
TLDR: men's perspectives on traditionally female interests fascinate me. And I agree, Maas' has great characters, I think how passionate people get speaks to how well she writes.
Also, I'm not sure I should be getting any sort of props here. I didn't willingly choose to break the bonds of gender norms, I simply didn't (and still don't) see Maas' work as "for girls". Nothing more to it than that.
No, you see that's what's great! You didn't see the social divide to begin with, you just picked up a book that interested you. Very cool, maybe it's your parents that deserve the props.
Are you speaking about a particular book series?
Not my parents per se, but my older sister practically raised me and my younger sister is as close to a brother as I'll ever need. Luckily I don't have any other siblings, those two are a handful as is.
I first started reading TOG and started ACOTAR shortly after. The post was about SJM's work in general though.
Well props to big sis then :-)
I Love SJM, loved acotar and tog, I just started reading House of Earth and Blood, it's a whopper of a first book in the Crescent City series.
I've been meaning to start the CC series but haven't gotten around to it yet. If I ever find myself near my local library I might see if they have it.
I am a man and SJM is easily one of my favorite authors. I am not a huge fan of the many smut scenes in the newer books but, they are easy to skip over. This is probably the only reason I prefer the TOG series over ACOTAR.
Have you read CC? I feel like that is a good middle ground, and I love the more modern vibe
I have! I really enjoyed it and I agree, it was a nice middle ground. I hope the next one is similar.
sorry to be a buzzkill but, based on interviews SJM has done, it sounds like CC2 is going to have more sex than anything else she's written
Quite unfortunate for me haha. I’ll just have to skip over those parts since I still will want to read the book. I do appreciate the heads up too! I do not read or listen to the interviews so thank you!
I think that what you are running into is that the scifi/fantasy genres had been male dominated for pretty much it's entire existence until the last couple decades. Not that there weren't writers like Ursula K LeGuin and Octavia Butler, but overall the barrier of entry was high for women, and particularly if it was written in a style that was "for women". Being "for women" in literature has usually been taken to mean romance, which has, rather unfairly, been long regarded as the bottom of the barrel of pulp fiction.
Even YA fantasy was rather male oriented, almost always a young boy on a coming of age adventure and women were either relatives, healers, witches, or something similar along that journey. Basically, LOTR was simplified and rewritten over and over.
Then you had the explosion of young women reading YA fiction, and fiction such as The Hunger Games showed there was a huge market for that. That was accomponied by a surge of fan fiction that inserted romance tropes into these worlds.
SJM came from that fanfic world. She writes romantic fantasy with women protagonists. However, those fantasy tropes are largely drawn from works that were in many ways driven by masculinity. So you aren't actually reading something that is written to exclude men from reading it since it draws on those tropes. What is different is that SJM's works deliberately includes women as main drivers of the plot. This makes it easier for women to see themselves in these worlds, and not just as mother/sister/healer/witch that aids/hinders the hero on their path. They can be the hero themselves.
Women have been putting themselves in men's shoes with literature for a long time and I think it's great that the opposite can happen too. After all, we have much more in common as human beings than we have differences due to gender.
I think your view is refreshing! As a woman I felt they were catered to female readers because the MC is female and although there are the other threads weaving the story, as you mentioned, I focused more heavily on the friendships and romance and being the dominant theme. So to hear your point of view has had me look at her writing at a different angle. Thank you!
My boy friend is currently reading her throne of glass series, because she is my favorite author and he wanted to see what I kept talking about. He was a little unenthusiastic about starting, because I always emphasize how much I love Sarah’s writing of romantic relationships. However, once he started reading her stuff he realized there’s so much more to her books than just romance and he absolutely loves them
I think YA as a genre is perceived to be read by women only, especially in regards to fantasy. They generally have more hopeful endings, diverse characters, deal with emotional impacts, and less male gaze.
Women are assumed to read them across all ages, and yeah it might be a bit odd for a 40 year old woman to read them, but its not AS odd as a 40 y/o man. Men have to read Mature books ™️.
Scifi is more often in the men's section in my experience, or told from a male perspective...which might correlate with the STEM field being dominated by men? Like. Science is often considered more manly to read about than fantasy is. Either is less manly than nonfiction, or sports, crime, horror, or mystery novels.
I think it's a weird, unfairly gendered thing, but books are definitely marketed with this in mind.
Also, the "bundle of nerves at the apex of the thighs" thing is SUPER annoying to me personally, and I think she uses it to avoid explicitly naming the clit. She doesn't use penis or vagina either.
I’m nonbinary but a great fan of SJM books. I think it is more marketed towards women but there is nothing wrong with men or nonbinary people who are reading it. They’re just books who cares about the gender of the people reading it. This is all just my opinion tho idk how others view this.
Yay, nonbinary SJM fans! I actually came out as nonbinary not long after reading them -- partially because I kept identifying with the women (or \*shudder\* female) characters and it reminded me of how I didn't really follow gender norms until I was in high school. Made me reckon with what I'd been suppressing for my entire adult life I guess.
I’m a woman, I never assumed it was marketed for women because of the writing itself, more just because I’d never met or encountered anyone but women who had read them.
My husband actually introduced me to SJM. And he introduced it to other male friends.