The XX Factor

Pink-Collar Ghettos

I dunno, Amanda , if the anecdotal “men get to the remote control first” really cuts it here, or explains much about why women read more books. Your point that boys grow up reading less probably has more to it, given what we know about how boys and girls tend to learn . But I took a different lesson from Laura Miller’s point that women, not men, usually are the ones at the table making the book deal. Publishing, she writes, “has come to look a lot like a skilled, pink-collar ghetto, albeit garnished with a thin dusting of reflected glamor.” The key word is pink-collar, because once a profession flips to being female-dominated, the historical rule of thumb is that it doesn’t flip back. Teachers, secretaries, and nurses are all mostly women, and it’s been that way for decades. I don’t think men are flocking back to them, recession or no recession. If book editing goes the same way, then yes, at the margins, more books that appeal to women will be published. But it’s hard to imagine men won’t have plenty to choose from, too. The free market should be good for that, at least.