What the hell is “woman’s fiction”?

It was bugging me for a long time now, why do we have “woman’s fiction” or “woman’s literature” shelves in bookstores? What are those books? And where can I find the “men’s fiction” shelf to see what they have in there?

Let’s take the easiest example – Amazon and its “Woman’s Fiction” shelf. Why do they even have that cathegory if the books under it are split to sub cathegories like Fantasy, Classic, Mystery, etc? Well yes, there’s still something like “Women’s Poetry” which is yet another strange cathegory, but let’s concentrate on the other shelves.

If they were able to put these books into sub cathegories, like Fantasy, then why haven’t they used the main Fantasy shelf? Is there something wrong with these books? How are they different from the other books on Fantasy shelf? I know it’s easy to miscategorize a book, I’ve seen plenty of that, but there’s still a problem of this mysterious Woman’s Fiction shelf existing.

  1. Can someone explain to me what is it all about?
  2. Why do we need this shelf?
  3. Where’s the “Man’s fiction” shelf?
  4. What criteria these do books need to meet to be put on that shelf?

Well, I’m off to do some sailing through the weekend, I hope to see some answers when I’ll get back on Monday :). Keep your fingers crossed for our team! we want to be as close to the podium as we can!