Hi, I’m James and I am a bookstagrammer. That might feel like a weird intro, but I think it is a fitting opening, seeing how the theme for this article is being a guy in a community clearly dominated by women. When Frolic asked me for an article on the theme I will admit I was both curious and intrigued, mostly because I haven’t thought about it even once since I joined bookstagram about two and a half years ago.
But first, how it all started (because I think that is important too). I discovered bookstagram by mistake. After years of being pressured to create an Instagram account (it sounds serious but it is actually a funny story for another time), when I finally did it I found myself posting selfies. God bless that 5 MPX front camera my phone had at the time. But between the mug shots, one day I decided to post a pic of the book I was reading back then. And when I started adding some hashtags, like the Instagram noob I was, I first saw that word. Bookstagram. And BOOM. The gates of heaven opened and destiny called to me: James, James, take photos of books! No, not really, but I was excited to find the community especially because I knew very few readers in my day to day life. I am sure we can all relate to how frustrating it can be not being able to have someone to talk to about the thing you love the most.
That is how it all began. I didn’t know back then that being a guy bookstagrammer was something kind of rare. And I didn’t care. And I still don’t care. You know why? Because I never felt unwelcomed or out of place.
I think that the very question of how do I feel as a male bookstagrammer comes from a misconception. It allows the premise that there is a difference between people when it comes to reading based on their genre, which is completely BS. It is like saying: you are a guy so you must love crime or suspense fiction. Or you are a woman so you must like romance. Your genre does not dictate your taste in reading just like it doesn’t dictate your quality as a human being. For example, the part of the bookstagram community I belong to revolves heavily around YA literature, a genre heavily targeted towards women. I love YA, even though it is not my favorite genre. Over the years that prompted weird comments and even weirder DMs questioning my tastes. I actually went on a whole rant recently about reader shaming and I was surprised by how many people related to that post. It is truly sad that some readers feel the need to hide what they like for fear of being ridiculed. Reading should be seen as a win no matter what type of books you enjoy. It helps you grow and develop your personality. It brings new nuances to the world. It makes you HAPPIER. And I think that should be the goal of any work of fiction.
In the end, I feel great being a guy bookstagrammer in a community full of females. But not because they are females. But because they are good people. And that’s what matters.
(Frolic here, and we’re excited to show you the magical logo James made for our IG account. Check it out here.)