Caroline Paul shares an interesting idea at Ideas Ted.com in her essay Why Boys should read Girl Books. Are boys being subjected to too much strait jacketed reading? Come to think of it, boys are encouraged to do their own thing and focus more on all their interests.
“We read to experience a panoply of perspectives. We read to learn of people and situations outside and beyond ourselves, so we can deepen our connection and understanding. We read to prepare for life. It follows, then, that we are raising our boys to dismiss other people’s experiences, and to see their needs and concerns as the center of things. We are raising our boys to lack empathy.”
The author talks about books she had read that were primarily focused on boys and she enjoyed being included in experiences she wouldn’t otherwise been able to partake of. She mentions another instance when boys were excused when an author of a ‘girl’s book’ made an entrance. If boys are excused from being a part of a girls’ experience, they are encouraged to see a girl’s experiences as unimportant and not worth taking heed of.
Ideas like these have given rise to projects like The Representation Project, a nonprofit that challenges destructive cultural stereotypes. Boys should read girl’s books and vice versa; in fact there should no cap on who should read what. Reading is not about reasserting who you are; it’s about stepping into someone else’s skin. It’s empathy and there’s no room for stereotypes if you want a more empowered, compassionate generation.