Day 5: Women Who Don’t Kick Butt

Technically this is the fifth post in the week long series. The comments just got so interesting that we needed more time between each.  So, here is my second and final post in the series...

Wow. What an amazing discussion this has been. Lynda’s post on Friday got some really great comments on Facebook. Like from Cenobyte B:

“…Because the genre developed in this predominantly male audience, there
developed certain tropes, and I think one of those tropes is that female
characters must either be lovers or adversaries… I think the era of
multi-faced female characters is just now coming to the forefront of all kinds
of literature, although more ‘mainstream’ literary fiction has had more time,
more space, and more of an audience to develop these themes. Science Fiction and
Fantasy are still eking on to the ‘literary’ scene, and so, as genres, are still
having to overcome some of those traditional tropes.”

This and other comments over the last week have prompted me to ask myself a question.

As a writer, does the gender we are born to (or choose to embrace) have an impact on our ability to write from the opposite sex?

Many of the writers I know have asked this question at one point or another. It’s normally asked if a man can write from a women’s point of view convincingly or vice versa. The answer always seem to depend on the author, but for the most part authors are more comfortable writing from their own sex’s point of view. There are of course exceptions to this rule. Our own Lynda Williams has a very male dominate cast in her Okal Rel series. I, on the other hand, find is easier to write from the female point of view even though I tend to write from both male and female perspectives equally.

Could this be the cause of these “tropes”? Is it because men were the storytellers? But why would women not write from women point of views when they finally broke into the genre? Was it because the “normal” storyline and characters were expected?

I agree that true women characters are just starting to be seen in genre fiction, and perhaps this is because it’s only now become acceptable to portray that in genre fiction. I think fantasy caught on to this much sooner than Science Fiction, but it’s coming. A new era perhaps?

I know that Lynda will write a closing post shortly, and I won’t take away from that, but for myself I would like to close by saying I think that a strong female character doesn’t need to have a fist fight or beat up a guy to captivate an audience. She can be hero without lifting a finger in anger, just as some of my female hero’s have done in real life… but sometimes kick butt stories can be really fun to read. 🙂

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