Men Don't Read

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the abundance of male pundits that have built careers on giving advice to women while there has been no reciprocal movement of women speaking to men.  A couple of my friends followed up with me and stated that this was partially because men don’t read.  One of them even shared a link with me wherein one male relationship expert outright stated that he targeted women because men don’t read at levels comparable to women.  I took to the library in order to determine if there was any empirical truth to the notion that men do not read and there is indeed some research arguing that we do not read as much as women.   I consider myself to be a fairly avid reader but this wouldn’t be the first time that I was out of sync with the majority of men.

Even still, it’s pretty disappointing to give up on an entire channel of reaching men.  Even more so knowing that print literature was one of the main places in which I sought kindred spirits when I first started to speak against sexual violence.  I simply did not know many men, particularly men of color, who shared similar politics to me so I looked to the print world for allies.  I trudge on in my quest to reach young men knowing full well that women do and, likely always will, represent the most common supporters of my work.

In 2004, noted feminist author bell hooks wondered why “no body of resistance literature has emerged for black males” who wished to challenge negative conventions within manhood.[i]  We are now a decade removed from these comments but I think it fair to say that we are still awaiting the arrival of this resistance literature.  If another decade passes and it still does not come about, I would hate for the reason for this to be that everybody kept quiet because they assumed that men didn’t read.  Thank goodness that some before me didn’t similarly bow out when I was a lost and searching initiate into anti-violence work that seemed determine to leave me without peers.  They provided me with a community no matter how small that might be.  And I probably wouldn’t be an advocate for anti-violence today without it.

– Gordon B (@GordonBraxton)

[i] Hook, bell.  We Real Cool:  Black Men and Masculinity.  New York:  Routlege.

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