It’s 2019. The damsels in distress have given way to rebel girls. Strong independent girls have taken over the books. Even Disney has changed. And even in India, it certainly seems like things have changed. More books with female leads, more publishing houses with feminist owners.
The Summer of 2019 taught us the ugly truth: In our country, the audience would rather that 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 Ramya’s Bat, Ramya wants to play cricket but the boys won’t let her and her dad wants her to paint, or play with blocks instead. But Ramya keeps at it and finally plays cricket, and turns out to be good at it. In 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, Ramya is a go-getter kind of girl, she won’t take no for an answer.
Then, we advertised for them on Facebook, Instagram and Google search. Here are the comparative numbers:
|Book||Visitors per |
|The one where Ramya is admiring flowers||121||1:09min|
|The one where Ramya wants to play cricket||27||0.02min|
For every rupee spent, we got ~4.5 times more people clicking on garden than 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. And the ads were very similar. What’s more? On Amazon, The Happy Place got organic 5* 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 group swim, lift weights, play, dance as much as the boys. But slowly we’re learning the truth from outside our bubble. That we may say that would like our girls to be independent and strong. But we still treat them like dolls. And maybe we don’t want them to choose pink anymore, but we don’t want them to get into sports either.
TBH, this is extremely frustrating.
Tell us, dear reader, what should we do? We feel like we should do something. But what?
PS: Click here for more info on the Ramya books.