Only Men Like History?January 13, 2009
During winter break I saw something interesting at a well-known bookstore in my town. I take my kids there a lot, and we do homework or just read together. A few weeks ago I was looking for history magazines, and I couldn’t find them. Well, it turned out that the bookstore put them in the “Men’s Interest” section. I was really upset by this, since women are interested in history, too. Out of curiosity I looked in the “Women’s Interest” section, and of course they had your basic stereotypical magazines targeted at women, like Cosmo, Parents, and Good Housekeeping.
I was fuming over the gender-based assumptions, but I didn’t do anything about it while I was there. Now, however, I refuse to go back to the bookstore chain, and I got a membership to one of their competitors. I probably should call their corporate headquarters to let them know about this, but they must be aware of how their magazines are categorized because it’s like that at all their locations here in San Antonio, Texas.
It’s amazing to me that there are still people with these gender-stereotyping mentalities. Like science, technology, engineering, and math, the field of history has more men than women, but that doesn’t mean women don’t like history — I’m a history major. Having stores tell people which magazine topics they should be interested in based on their gender is not helping to break down the barriers that keep more women from entering high-paying jobs in male-dominated fields and more men from entering fulfilling jobs in female-dominated fields.
What do you think about bookstores and other stores that categorize magazines by gender?