Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having your own opinions about reading, but you should never make someone feel like they are inferior because of their reading. I have been sitting on this topic for a couple of months now, going over how I wanted to present it. Thinking about what my other booklovers would think or how they would feel. I finally felt it was time to put my thoughts to words.
What is book-shaming?
Book-shaming is what I like to call a literary form of bullying. Thinking what or how you’re reading is more important over what or how someone else is reading. Making someone feel inferior about their reading life, whether it’s the quantity or quality of books. It can be blatant and direct or passive. Some try to disguise it as having “good” book tastes. Book-shaming in its worse form is the passive-aggressive, “Yay, you’re reading, but you’re reading trash.”
Who is a book-shamer?
Have you ever uttered or thought the statement, “I can’t believe you’re reading that” or “That’s not really reading” and of course “those aren’t even real books?” If so, that is book-shaming. I’m sure we have all been guilty of it a time or two. The important thing is to recognize the toxic behavior and work on correcting it. Being a reader is hard enough as it is, but to be shamed about what you’re reading by people who enjoy the hobby as much as you is even worse.
Why are people book-shaming?
People book-shame because they either really believe that what they are reading or how they are reading is more important, superior, or relevant than others. People book-shame if they feel as if someone isn’t reading more books that are deemed culturally appropriate or important. People also book-shame to make themselves feel important and validated. Maybe they are doing it to disguise their own flawed reading lives, using it as a form of overcompensating. And some people don’t even realize that they are book-shaming others.
In closing, I hope that everyone can take something from this. If you know you are a book-shamer or know someone who is, don’t be afraid to say something to them. If you have been book-shamed, do not allow others to make you feel as if what you choose to read is inferrior or invalid. Yes, I do believe we should all try to expand our reading lives, but we shouldn’t be shamed into do so.