Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Talk show host says boys' books are "emasculating"

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Glenn Beck, a babyfaced right-wing pundit with his own show on CNN, is one of the dimmer bulbs in the neoconservative cheerleading squad.

Recently, before an interview with YA author Ted Ball, Beck had this to say about the state of boys' fiction:

“I have three daughters and a son, and I have to tell you, it’s easy to find books for girls, it’s very hard to find books [for boys]... you know, they used to be, they used to be manuals for growing up and being a good, strong, honest man, right? Today, try to find one that’s aimed at young, male readers – they are emasculating.”

(Watch the segment here.)

Beck's problem is with the fact that so many YA novels feature – ew! cooties! - female heroines, that more and more often, it's the girl who must save the day.

As the father of a 10-year-old boy, I can attest that there is no shortage of books for boys. My kid will read anything at the moment, as long as it involves ghouls or zombies or the like. Whether it's a girl or a boy fighting the ghouls, he couldn't care less. Would he read something with a soft-focus painting of a docile-looking girl and her pony on the cover? Probably not, but there's lot of girls who don't want to read that, either. Hence the growing numbers of un-passive fictional female heroes that Beck so abhors.

Maybe Beck's just scared of getting his ass kicked by a girl.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Nathan Whitlock

Nathan Whitlock is the review editor of Quill & Quire magazine. His writing and reviews have appeared in The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve, Toro, Geist, Saturday Night and elsewhere. His novel, A Week of This: a novel in seven days, was published this spring by ECW Press.

Go to Nathan Whitlock’s Author Page