Recently, my spouse and I were running errands and knocking around plots. Our tastes are only similar in that we can both find stuff to read under the same broad label in the bookstore; however, we're both familiar with the tropes and commonalities of that section.
As I was describing a short story to him, he began to frown. By the end of the summary I was worried--his expression had closed in a frown, locking out the majority of the explanation. When I asked where the plot had gotten of track, I received a tense shrug. I just don't like stuff like that, your protagonists are talking about shopping and there's a mall and it's just women's stuff.
I will admit to a sudden desire to slap him. Women's stuff? Which he doesn't have to read because, you know, he's not a woman? Because a different perspective would, I don't know, break his brain? As I seethed--silently--beside him, I tried to find the outlines of his assumptions under the arguments. I believe that it's a case of assuming neutrality to a male POV and making the female POV of necessity only relevant to women, although I can't quite credit this. I could have cast the plot entirely with male protagonists in a quasi-medieval setting and it would have seemed like a standard be-careful-in-your-dealings-with-fair-folk plot...not a particularly gender-specific theme.
On the other hand, his opinion is valid. If he doesn't think he would relate to the plot as described, I should give him the benefit of the doubt. I don't care much for the armageddon-type plots he favors, either...although I don't see it as a gender issue (ew, boy stories...) so much as a plot preference. If he'd couched it in those terms, which I had been expecting, it wouldn't have been a big deal. It's the dissmissal itself that was irritating. Did the plot even register?
At the end of the day I decided to ignore it (relatively speaking), to assume that it has more to do with his tendency to class reading as pure enjoyment along with TV and video games. We'll still knock around plots. I'm just going to knock them a little harder next time.