10 October 2012

Gender stereotypes in the bookstore aisles

I recently visited a used bookstore in a Philadelphia suburb. I was looking for a couple of out-of-print books -- one on politics and one on science.

In walking through the aisles and scanning the shelf labels, I couldn't find sections for politics or science.

So I asked the woman behind the desk where I would find books on those two subjects. "Men's Interests," she replied, and pointed to that row. Sure enough, there were the books I was looking for. Under "Men's Interests". I wondered if the desk lady assumed I was shopping for a book for my husband, brother, or son, rather than for myself. But I said nothing.

Then, just for grins, I found the "Women's Interests" section. There, as I had expected, were all the cookbooks, along with books on fashion, parenting, and crafts.

Better tell Emeril Lagasse that cooking is a "women's interest".

Better tell Calvin Klein that fashion is a "women's interest".

Better tell that macho Todd Palin, who watches the younger kids while Sarah continues her media stunts even after all these years, that parenting is a "women's interest".

And don't let your Boy Scouts work on crafts, because that's obviously girl stuff. Proof is at the bookstore.

As for me, I guess I'm supposed to stop worrying my little blonde head over manly things like politics and science, and instead maybe learn to crochet.

Don't hold your breath.

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