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September 29, 2014

So TV Is Pretty Much Just for Women Now, Right?

Just looking at the new TV shows -- Madame Secretary, How to Get Away With Murder, Forever, etc. -- it seems almost of all of them are pitched chiefly to appeal to women.

Something similar happened in the movies. 16-to-25 year old males bought most movie tickets. So studios started making more and more movies targeting 16-to-25 year old males. This led to people outside of this demographic buying even fewer tickets -- which meant that an even greater fraction of tickets were bought by males 16 to 25, making it more important to make movies for males 16 to 25, and so on.

Well, from what I'm seeing on TV, it appears that women watch more TV than men (at least more scripted shows), so TV is pitching itself harder to harder to women, thus making men even less likely to watch, thus making it even more important to appeal to women, etc.

Something like this already happened with print fiction -- women, I think, were always better readers than men, and furthermore enjoyed fiction more. So publishers bought more female-skewing novels, thus making it less likely men would buy novels.

And so on. You know the breakdown of novel purchases by gender? Women buy 80% of novels; men buy 20%.

This isn't really a complaint so much as an observation.

Back when I was a younger man, I didn't complain that a suspiciously large number of films seemed designed to appeal to me. I just accepted my good fortune.

(Well, I don't know if I should call it "good fortune." For every Die Hard, there were eight Erasers and four Hard Targets.)

Now that I'm older, most movies aren't for me (I'm a little tired of the Talented but Rebellious Young Man Must Accept His Destiny of Being Awesome character arc) and very few novels and apparently no TV shows at all.

The only TV shows "for men" seem to be those designed to appeal to both sexes equally -- dumb reality shows like Survivor, procedurals-mixed-with-personal-drama like Elementary, and general-audience sitcoms like Big Bang Theory.

The only single scripted TV show -- a single fiction -- whose intended audience is primarily male I can think of is Game of Thrones. But that wound up appealing to women, and if I were to guess, I'd say that women probably made up the majority of the audience.

Again, I'm not really complaining. This seems to be explainable by operation of market forces (with the addition of a vicious cycle whereby the smaller part of the audience becomes smaller and smaller still as the industries pitch to the larger potential audience).

It's not a conspiracy, and it's not really even "political."

Still, if we live in a world where each and every "Gender Gap" must be shrieked about and endlessly discussed as "problematic" (and we do live in precisely such a world) -- how about doing a little shrieking for the poor underserved male potential TV audience?

Commenters Point Out Additional Male-Skewing Shows-- mostly on cable channels, and mostly on FX (or FXX, whatever). Archer and Always Sunny are definitely male-appealing; commenters say "The League" is too.

But these are on a fairly minor cable channel, and certainly it doesn't look like new shows are being pitched to the male audience.

(Update: Oops, someone pointed out Adam Baldwin's vehicle (ahem), The Last Ship. Okay, that counts as "new." But still, on TNT.

Okay, you can point out a few male-skewing shows -- but not many.)

#GamerGate Angle: While the Social Justice Warriors complain mightily that video games seem to feature many more male heroes than female ones, and seem skewed to male tastes as a general matter -- I don't hear the Social Justice Warriors crusading for male-skewing fictions in print or on TV.

Seems the SJWs gladly take their advantages where they find them (that is, in entertainments designed to appeal to their gender identity) and then cry an awful lot because one particular entertainment niche (video games) is still skewed towards male tastes.


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posted by Ace at 03:11 PM

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