I was in Borders tonight looking at the section titled "Social Sciences". I wanted to see if there was anything new or interesting in the Men's Studies section. Of course, they don't really have a Men's Studies section. In all fairness, they don't have a Women's Studies section either, but I noticed something stunning that I thought really defined why men in the first few decades of the 21st century are in BIG trouble. Below is a picture taken with my cell phone of all the books in Borders related to Men's Studies. Bear in mind that this is not a rural or small store, this is an enormous two-story Borders store in downtown Evanston.
Ta-daaa! That's right. Almost, but not quite, one entire row on one shelf. If you count them, (and you can in the picture) it amounts to a total of 24 books, including my own personal favorite "Iron John" by Robert Bly.
The women's studies books were also fairly limited, which surprised me given their pervasiveness in gender literature as a whole, but still made up for the rest of two entire shelves of books.
Now let's look at the REAL kick in the ass. Those silly little Japanese anime graphic novels have really taken off in the last few years, but no one told me it had gone this far. Just three rows over from the dismal, miserable little social science section at Borders was an enormous display titled "Manga" that wrapped around no less than SEVEN entire bookcases. They are pictured below.
These are much harder to count so I've done the math for you.
46 books per row
7 rows per shelf
7 FUCKING SHELVES OF ANIME
2,250 Japanese anime graphic novels. Give or take maybe a hundred books.
Or, roughly 100 Japanese anime titles for each title about the sociology of men. Sometimes I feel like if men and boys were any less important to our culture, we'd be mulched up and used as fertilizer for flowers.
I did find a really terrific book, though, that you should check out if you get a chance. It's called Where Men Hide, by James Twitchell.