A while ago I mentioned a reading survey I gave my freshman. I asked them a number of questions about the books they'd read while they were in high school, both assigned and unassigned reading. I was surprised at how widely read they were, collectively, if not individually, and have been giving this considerable thought--how can I use this information in future classes?
I noticed that there were a number of titles that only the women had read, but none that were only on the men's lists. This held true by title and by genre. There were a few women who read sports books, adventure--but no men who read chic lit.
None. I admit that I'd not read any in that category myself. Not "Bel Canto", not "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood," let alone the cheesier stuff... you know, the one's with pastel covers covers, photos of female bare feet 0(no one admitted reading Good in Bed, but given some of the other titles, I don't believe them).
So I asked... after pointing out this apparent difference in reading tastes, that is--I asked one of the women. Do you think the world would be a better place if the men you know had read the books in question?
The class exploded (well, not quite... ) but there was a spontaneous and enthusiastic and collective female YES!
So, I asked. If you had the power to require the men you know to read these books....
Hmmm... not having read any of these title myself, I had to wonder--what am I missing?
And if so, what in particular? Please enlighten me. What is going on here?