Bridget JonesSexWriting

It’s not all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll….

A popular discussion amongst writers is audience. The constant dilemma of who to write for is the subject of many a heated debate and there are two sides to this story. From a genre point of view, the type of book being written must correlate with a responsive, resonating audience. Conversely, the audience demand dictates the genre.
Cosidering the demographic chart, there are more females between the ages of 40 and 50 years old than any other female age group. Similarly, there are more males in the same age group than any other. This is largely a result of the baby-boom in the 1960’s, the generation X culture and and improvement in medicine and lifestyle allowing the birth mortality rate to improve.
Whatever the reason, common sense tells us that as there are more women in this particular age group, there are more women to resonate with middle-aged main characters. But what are these women like? They are not the Britney Spears-like, Bridget Jones’, Girls Aloud-ish or Paris Hilton-esque girly popularist characters that twenty-something women may often aspire to. They are women who have had a family, whose children have left home, perhaps divorced, holding down a career and had traversed the learning curve of life to embark of considerations of topics such as longevity, mortality and menopause. Would they really want to read about shopping, sex and boyfriends?
Perhaps this demographic is flat. Where are all these women? They are not in the bars and nightclubs of towns and cities. They are rarely in the restaurants and shopping malls. More likely, you will find her at home, exhausted from a hard day in her well-earned full-time job, taking time over cooking a meal, maybe surfing and blogging. And reading.
More to the point, where are these women in books? Which characters give a true reading of this demographic? Off the top of my head I can’t think of a any. Can we find a strong everyday middle aged woman in popularist genres? Do these women more often appear as sub-characters, as the MC’s dotty mum or menopausal colleague, the slightly mad divorcee or the brooding spinster ?
It’s a fact of modern day life that as generation X gives way to generation Why that the steep slope of fertility, culminating at the menopause causes these women to disappear from our pages and screens on the downward sloping ageing process.
This makes no sense, taking into account the maximum responsive, resonating audience of this age group. Unless, of course, the facilitators of genre are men who have no use for women who’s body clock has all but stopped ticking and are over the hill of fecundity?

2 thoughts on “It’s not all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll….

  1. Here in Holland, women generally have their first baby in their early thirties, so that they still have young (school age, and possibly even preschool age) children after they hit 40.

    So at least here, “mommy lit” should resonate with the 30-to-50 group.

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