But why? Women today make up more than half of the population, and 80 percent of the fiction market, yet we are still considered a niche. The fact that ladies read is still somehow news, and whenever too many of us pick up one particular book, like 50 Shades of Grey, commentators dissect the contents for clues as to what women (all of them) are thinking. As Jessica Grose detailed in Slate earlier this month, books written by women—like her own debut novel, Sad Desk Salad—are often instantly subjugated as “for-girls-only,” marketed as something lesser-than, and then unfairly scrutinized. “[W]hy, for instance, was a series like Twilight so much more critically derided than Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy? Both sets are huge best-sellers, and both are horribly written (unless you like elaborate, repetitive descriptions of sandwiches). But Larsson’s were never painted as embarrassing, pathetic props for bored housewives (or their husbands),” Grose wrote. “Larsson’s weren’t sneered at by the critical class the way that popular books in women specific genres tend to be.”
Reasons why, as much as I hate and mock Twilight and 50 Shades, I get really sick of them being held up as the paragons of all that is wrong with the world, because they are both bad and girly, and that is the worst kind of bad.