It’s 2019. The damsels in distress have given way to rebel girls. Strong independent girls have taken over books. Even Disney has changed. In India as well, it certainly seems like things have changed. There are books with female leads, more publishing houses with feminist owners… And yet…
The Summer of 2019 taught us the ugly truth: In our country, audiences would rather girls plant flowers than play cricket. It sucks, but that’s the truth.
Here’s what happened:
We released two books with the same character – Ramya.
In the first book, Ramya’s Bat, Ramya wants to play cricket but the boys won’t let her. Her dad wants her to paint, or play with blocks instead. But Ramya doesn’t give up till she finally plays cricket, and turns out- she’s great at it!
In the second, The Happy Place, Ramya’s grandmother goes to the hospital for a few weeks. In her absence, Ramya tends to her grandmother’s garden. It’s hard work, but she keeps at it.
In both stories, Ramya is a go-getter who won’t take no for an answer.
Following that, as with any new release, we advertised for them on Facebook, Instagram and Google. Here are the comparative numbers:
|Book||Visitors per Rs 1000||Time Spent|
|The Happy Place||121||1:09min|
For every rupee spent, we got ~4.5 times more people clicking on gardening versus cricket. And the few people who clicked on Ramya playing cricket, changed their mind within 2 seconds! We used the exact same audience – Indian, metro, women, ages 25-35, love picture books. The ads for both were very similar. What’s more? On Amazon, The Happy Place got organic 5-star ratings. And Ramya’s Bat? Well, no one bought it.
In the bubble we live in, we’ve moved on from pink. Girls in our circles swim, lift weights, play sports and dance as much as boys. But slowly we’re learning the truth from outside our bubble. As a society, we may say that would like our girls to be independent and strong. Nevertheless, we still treat them like dolls. It might be we don’t want them to choose pink anymore, but we’re not exactly enthusiastic about them playing sports either.
TBH, this is extremely frustrating.
So tell us, dear reader, what can be done? Here at fREADom, we feel strongly that we should do something. But what?
For more information on the Ramya books, click here!
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