I've often wondered too why fiction mostly about men isn't called men's fiction. I don't want it to be called men's fiction -- I'm not keen on categories. I don't want assumptions to be made about me as a reader even though I realise the book industry needs to categorise at some level or in some way.
I cut myself off in my prime! I think I'd prefer novels to be categorised by type of story rather than by type of reader. War stories, dystopian stories, love stories, etc.
I totally agree with you, Libby. I would prefer to browse a book shop with subject categories in mind (though it make hard work for the bookseller especially with cross genre novels). One of my most favourite books ever is a war story written by a man. If it had been in a 'Men's' section, I might have walked straight past and missed out on a brilliant book. Perversely, even though my novel would, according to agents, fit into the 'women's fiction' category, I would probably walk past that section too.
But I guess we are stuck with what we have - it makes life easier for publishers/self publishers to market to the 'right' readers (whoever they maybe).
Novels are alredy categorised by story type… sometimes. Othertimes, they are categorised by setting. And still other times, by target audience. And then there are those further extraneous categorisations (literary, reading group, etc).
And every book fits somewhere – probably manywheres – in each of those categorisation axes.
And becuse there are (so many) people who want to reduce everything down to a my-preferred-bucket boolean, certain spots within each categorisation get named genres, and never may they overlap (from a marketing perspective).