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Female characters written by men?

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (lastnightsbook) | 20 comments Mod
Is it believable? What about the opposite? I recently started readingYou Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld. The first character I encounter is Nell, a gender studies professors and I was a bit put off by her as I thought if the character is going to be a feminist and talk about her body and femininity, wouldn’t a female be better off writing this? Then I realized that the writer was female with what could be labeled as male name since that has been my experience with people called Curtis. I know a few people who will not read books written by a certain gender.

Does gender and the characters of genders impact your reading habits?

I thought they didn't for me until I encountered certain situations in the books.

message 2: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 12 comments I have a tough time with this question; there are so many books that I love (e.g. “Memoirs of a Geisha”, “Little Bee”) where the main character is the opposite gender of the author (if the author identifies as such). Authors David Bergen, Wally Lamb, and Jodi Picoult frequently write novels from the perspective of the opposite sex, and I love many of their novels.

On the one hand, I don’t know if it’s appropriate to write from a position that one would not know how they feel or view the world. On the other hand, is it not a matter of creativity, to take on a POV that is not yours? What about writing from the perspective of a child (“Room”), or an animal (“The Bees”)? Should authors not write from their unique perspectives because they are not like them?

message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (lastnightsbook) | 20 comments Mod
Hi Kelly,

As a fan of Memoirs of a Geisha, Little Bee, and Room, I do believe you are right about how sometimes the impact of the writer's gender doesn't impact their characters. As well as sometimes as readers we are able to suspend our belief, as the case with Room. Writing is the only medium that if we do not take a close look at the author, it is not much of a question as opposed to a man playing a woman's role on stage or TV when their gender is made clear.

I think the awareness of the topic is coming up more and more since the question of gender has become more mainstream and accepted.

Before I didn't think too much about it either but lately I have been noticing and I am not sure if it is because of awareness.

I recently read this short article in the Guarding about it.

The writer of it points out what I do find the most annoying about the genders of the writers and their characters but now I'm just left wondering if it is just bad writing, and lack of awareness or education on the writer's part.

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