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Women's fiction WH Smiths hmmm?

(92 Posts)
planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 20:54:53

Heard an article on radio 4 yesterday stating WH Smiths had been written to and asked to remove the shop sign (the ones that stick out from the shelves showing different sections) showing "women's fiction" as it was highly offensive to women to pigeon hole them with the fluffy kind of titles found there. WH Smiths agreed to remove the signs!
I understand the argument but personally think
think this is going too far and also am a bit peeved I will now have to ask the shop assistant for the books that men probably wouldn't read??!!
Interested to see what others here think and if I've totally missed the point.

azazello Fri 09-Sep-11 20:59:38

Why can't you just look at the titles and see what looks interesting? The Shopoholic series for eg are pretty obviously aimed at women or you could look for an author you like. It doesn't necessarily have to be signposted.

Personally I absolutely cannot stand women's fiction. The only time I tried to read a shopoholic type book I was ready to gnaw my own arm off by page 20 so I didn't have to hold it anymore, so for me, a sign saying 'Books' or 'Fiction' will do nicely.

samandi Fri 09-Sep-11 21:00:37

I think it's fair enough. It's silly having "women's fiction". Do they have "men's fiction"? Are women not allowed to read "men's fiction" and vice versa?

"I will now have to ask the shop assistant for the books that men probably wouldn't read??!!"

Oh well, I'm sure you'll live.

bran Fri 09-Sep-11 21:06:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 21:07:29

Ha ha calm down!! The bit in my post re the searching was lighthearted I'm not actually bothered by having to look my point was I wondered wether others were actually offended by these signs? The point about there not being a sign for mens fiction is true though so that makes me think.

planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 21:11:51

Bran this is what I thought really the signs don't make you but the books they just separate them out. There is nothing stopping me picking up bravo two zero but I'm more partial to something more errrr aimed at women?!

samandi Fri 09-Sep-11 21:15:32

"the thing with "men's fiction" is that it's divided up into more descriptive sections like sci-fi, fantasy, war, crime"

Since when were these things "men's fiction"?

I think describing things as "romantic fiction" and "fantasy fiction" is far more informative than "women's fiction" and "men's fiction".

And yes, I am offended by those kinds of signs. Not enough to complain but it can be confusing and irritating.

samandi Fri 09-Sep-11 21:16:40

And personally i'm far more partial to fantasy and sci-fi than romantic fiction.

planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 21:21:02

Obviously no book is exclusively for men or women but just like any product they are made (written) with a specific target audience in mind the signs IMO just divided them up to save shoppers time not to oppress women or put them off buying a bravo two zero.

samandi Fri 09-Sep-11 21:26:39

"IMO just divided them up to save shoppers time"

How on earth is it saving time? Don't people generally know what kind of area they are interested in? It's utterly retarded to not be able to understand "fantasy fiction" or "romantic fiction" - I'm surprised these people can even read.

Besides which, I tend to think of book shopping as a leisurely and enjoyable activity ... I'm quite happy to browse and explore all categories, and I think many others think along the same lines.

sneakybeak Fri 09-Sep-11 21:29:55

just use the library smile

You won't be offered crap out of date chocolate, and won't have to pay a penny, or be offended.

win, win!

TrillianAstra Fri 09-Sep-11 21:31:43

sci-fi, fantasy, war, crime

These things are not men's fiction. They are just types of fiction.

planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 21:35:42

Well on earth.... It pointed people to the women's fiction grin and surprised they can actually read? your just spoiling for a fight - people can read whatever they like. I'm not an idiot just busy! For me the signs were not offensive and I've never met one of my friends for coffee and the first topic of conversation been "you will never guess what I've just seen in smiths! I'm soooo offended!"

planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 21:38:58

The point of my OP was more about the fact this has been done in my name as a woman more than the fact the sign has disappeared and now my brain can't compute what to read ffs grin

Ha ha the library smile I'll check next time I'm I if there is a women's fiction sect .... There might be? confused

samandi Fri 09-Sep-11 21:42:07

"I'm not an idiot just busy!"

So you wouldn't explore any of the other categories because all you're interested in is romantic fiction ... but it ESCAPES YOU that other women may be equally busy (not me - I've just admitted, quite willingly :-) that I love browsing bookshops when I have the time) but aren't interested in the same kind of fiction as you and might prefer more INFORMATIVE signs ? You don't speak for all womankind.

samandi Fri 09-Sep-11 21:43:34

"more about the fact this has been done in my name as a woman"

and yet you have no problem with having 'women's fiction' signs? face palm or are you being ironic? i'm tired and may have missed some subtle online tone :-)

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Fri 09-Sep-11 21:46:33

But what's wrong with sci fi??? (Or any other of the men's categories you list)

Last time I checked, I'm a woman. And I prefer sci-fi to "women's fiction". I also know men who prefer "women's fiction" to sci fi... Why pigeonhole fiction into gendered categories anyway? I don't get it...

planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 21:50:37

Of course i dint! seriously? confused Why are you so prickly??!! But that's kind of my actual point really this one woman who wrote to smiths does not talk for all womankind either so I was surprised smiths jumped to it so quickly and this is what the radio programme was actually exploring. Thought it would be interesting to see how others on mn felt that's all hmm obviously you are 100% right and I'm the only one not hopping mad at smiths choice of signage wink off to bed to read "that's not my handbag" grin grin

TrillianAstra Fri 09-Sep-11 21:57:17

"Women's fiction" is not descriptive.

Tell us what is in the books, not who you think it should be for. I'll make up my own mind if it is for me.

FootprintsOnTheMoon Fri 09-Sep-11 22:01:14

Women's fiction is a synonym for light romantic fiction with a feel good ending.

maybe they're saving on printer ink?

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Fri 09-Sep-11 22:06:15

I just dislike having my reading list defined by my gender... Very few books fall entirely into one category anyway.

planetpotty Fri 09-Sep-11 22:06:41

Exactly footprints that's what you have summed up much better than I've been trying to ... Thanks blush

BendyBob Fri 09-Sep-11 22:08:40

I heard the article on R4 too. I agreed with the complaint and do find it quite patronising. But then again maybe it's a good thing to herd together all the chick lit then I can avoid it. I really hate the few I've ever read.

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Fri 09-Sep-11 22:13:10

grin Exactly... Why is women's fiction predominantly simplistic reading? And if you step outside the section, you never know what gems you'll find... Neil Gaiman isn't listed under women's fiction... wink

bran Fri 09-Sep-11 22:15:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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