Let's talk about Gender Stereotypes... - Page 2


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Thread: Let's talk about Gender Stereotypes...

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    There is this need to present female characters as "feminine" and male characters as
    "masculine". What truly defines being feminine and being masculine? Why can't a female character exhibit traditionally
    masculine traits?
    One would think this comes down to the writer. Speaking from experience, as a male writer I feel more comfortable writing a strong
    male protagonist and can relate directly to the character. That being said, I have created strong female supporting characters, and
    have even written two stories with a strong female protagonist to see if I could pull it off.

    I have read many books with strong female characters, and that is where I primarily took inspiration from. Being a man, I find it
    easier to write from a male perspective, as there are aspects of female life that I'll never understand, even with the amount of
    research I do. I'm not a woman, I can't think like a woman. Therefore, I stick to what I know.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    Why can't a male character exhibit traditionally feminine traits like nurturing, gentle, etc.
    I think a lot of this is bullshit.
    They can, and sometimes do. Just because you don't agree with things doesn't automatically make them B.S.

    Again, people write what they know.

    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    Do you think writing should break away from them or keep them in play?
    I think if people calmed down and stopped being offended by just about everything, we wouldn't be having this problem in the
    first place.

    -JJB
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  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by druid12000 View Post
    I have to say, it's not something I've seen much in the books I've read, either. On television
    and in movies, absolutely.
    It's all in the eye of the beholder. We live in a world now where people will find just about anything to crab about.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

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  3. #13
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    Are we talking about characters and their private lives? I really haven't seen much in the way of rules that says you have to depict women one way or another. Or are we talking a hundred-pound female character with the build of a fencepost beating half a dozen male goons a full head taller and double her weight?

    I doubt anybody cares if a female character prefers to wear pants, or cuts her hair short, or works in a field that's predominantly male. What bothers people in my neck of the bookstore is the sort who boldly goes into a traditionally non-feminine field and just happens to be the best at everything, ever, without having to work. Usually there's some talk of magic or technology (which, to a lot of writers, are essentially the same thing) bridging the difference.

    Ain't nobody got time for Mary Sue.

  4. #14
    It's also really important to differentiate between 'gender stereotypes' and 'gender traits'.

    STEREOTYPE = Women are more emotionally fragile than men
    TRAIT = Women cry more often than men.

    Stereotypes are things that are based on assumption not fact. Sexism comes into play when differences are assumed without merit.

    It is a fact that most women do cry more often than most men, around three to four times more often per month on average, and there are lots of reasons for that. So, having a female character cry where a male character may not is not itself an example of 'gender stereotyping' and it's certainly not sexist.

    Women being more emotionally fragile than men, however, is a gender stereotype because crying in itself does not indicate more sensitivity. Moreover, the fact it is interpreted as such is actually an example of misogyny because it draws a direct line between a feminine trait (crying) and a negative human trait (emotional fragility).

    When writing characters it is important for them to reflect the traits of their gender while avoiding, as much as possible, the stereotypes. Not all of the traits (there are some women who hardly ever cry and some men who cry very often) but enough that the character's gender feels authentic for who they are.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    One thing that bugs the HELL out of me is Gender Stereotypes.

    I see this in a lot of stories. There is this need to present female characters as "feminine" and male characters as "masculine". What truly defines being feminine and being masculine? Why can't a female character exhibit traditionally masculine traits? Like being physically strong, aggressive and competitive? Why can't a male character exhibit traditionally feminine traits like nurturing, gentle, etc. I think a lot of this is bullshit.

    See, this is why I get a bit confused when you write a female characters vs. a male character. We all come from different walks of life. I know a handful of my female friends who are very physically strong, headstrong, tomboyish, etc. They don't really like wearing dresses and they hate pink. Does that not make them a female? Heck no.

    I think when people write characters and don't think of Gender Stereotypes, the writing is a lot better. Attack On Titan is an anime/manga that does a tremendous job at doing this. Men and women are serving in the military and both of their courage and sacrifice is equal. It's nice to see.

    Thoughts on Gender Stereotypes? Do you think writing should break away from them or keep them in play?
    IMO, the true stereotype is thinking a woman has to be 'masculine' to be strong and a man has to be 'feminine' to be kind.

    A good (old) anime where the female MC is very feminine AND strong AND wants to achieve more in her life than being married to her crush is Saiunkoku Monogatari. I don't like her in the first episode (she screams too much), but after that she's cool. It's based on novels, I don't think they have been translated.
    In an episode, an older woman teach her to wear make-up, she calls it "woman's war armor" (or something like that)

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    Certainly characters can work in any role, just like real people do. However, there are physical differences between the sexes, traditional roles which have existed (ostensibly) since the dawn of mankind, and in many cases cultural expectations.

    The strongest women will never have the muscle mass of the strongest man. Without a LOT of artificial help from science, a man will never bear a child. There is nothing wrong with adopting a traditional role for either sex just as certainly as there is nothing wrong with breaking it.

    There are PLENTY of women in this world who enjoy traditional roles and embrace feminine motifs. Anyone who walks around a place with people, and has their eyes open, will see them all around. That also applies to traditional roles in the home. Now, my wife and I both had successful careers. Mine is still going, she retired a few years ago. Yet, she still did/does most of the cooking, because that was a fair tradeoff for me doing ALL of the yardwork. She doesn't want to cut the grass or rake the leaves or vacuum the pool, and will never have to. (She did enjoy dead-heading the roses, before we moved and left our rose garden behind).

    You want to know who writes the most feminine characters I EVER read? Women authors.

    So no, it's not bullshit, it's real life. I think we're allowed to let real life seep into our fiction from time to time.

    I don't get the point of your outrage, because I see aggressive, competent, sturdy female characters ALL THE TIME. Maybe you need some tips on where to find them.
    Not an outrage but I think people who write men and women to gender stereotypes have little imagination and a very narrow mindset. I LOVE reading female characters who are strong and independent, and a bit aggressive. I love women who are not afraid to challenge and stand up to their male adversaries.

    What are some feminine motifs you speak of?

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kensa View Post
    IMO, the true stereotype is thinking a woman has to be 'masculine' to be strong and a man has to be 'feminine' to be kind.

    A good (old) anime where the female MC is very feminine AND strong AND wants to achieve more in her life than being married to her crush is Saiunkoku Monogatari. I don't like her in the first episode (she screams too much), but after that she's cool. It's based on novels, I don't think they have been translated.
    In an episode, an older woman teach her to wear make-up, she calls it "woman's war armor" (or something like that)
    There are plenty of women out there in real life who love lifting weights and building muscle. Is that a masculine thing, wanting to be big and strong? I definitely don't think so. Quinn McKay for example (on Instagram), I'm a dude who lifts weights and her shoulders are more sculpted than mine. I will praise a woman like Quinn with everything in my power. Is she "a man" because she has big strong arms? Heck no. A lot of women I know lift weights because when they get stronger, they feel way more confident. I think women who are afraid of "looking like a man" after lifting a lot of weights or getting bulky...those things need to be pushed to the side. I admire women who lift weights a lot.

    Hmm...make-up as woman's war armor? Interesting. Humans are a very complex species. A man or a woman can be pretty much anything they want to be in today's world, I wish that was reflected more in today's stories. Especially men and women who don't want to be parents ever.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    Not an outrage but I think people who write men and women to gender stereotypes have little imagination and a very narrow mindset. I LOVE reading female characters who are strong and independent, and a bit aggressive. I love women who are not afraid to challenge and stand up to their male adversaries.

    What are some feminine motifs you speak of?
    When you write that sort of a rant, it appears as outrage.

    In real life, women (even strong and aggressive women) dress up in pretty clothes and alluring clothes, wear makeup, look for a man in their life ... or already have one. By their early 40s, 85% of women have borne at least one child. Two income households are much more common now than 50 years ago, but there are still many women who choose to stay home and take the role of homemaker. I know women who change their own oil, and competent career women who melt down and call for help if they have a dead battery. Of the women I know, if there is a man present, they expect him to do 'traditional male jobs'. Certainly that's not always the case, but I've rarely seen a woman turn down an offer from a man to do heavy lifting. Where I live, women are pleased to have a man open the door for them, even when the man is a stranger. Goodness knows I've been caught at the bank door often enough when I opened it for one lady, and wound up standing there for a stream of them going both in and out. LOL Any time I see a woman come out of a store with a heavy product, I offer to load it in their vehicle. I have NEVER been waved off.

    If a woman doesn't want to choose a traditional role or motifs, that's great. But ... it's only wrong if she is FORCED to chose them against her will. If she wants them, she's entitled to them.

    Like I said, this is real life. You're dreaming of some fantasy where NO WOMEN want these things. That place does not exist. So while the women you fantasize about DO exist, and there is certainly a place for them in literature, it's silly to exclude the roles and attitudes of the rest of our population of women. These are not "stereotypes", they're real people.

    I've now finished my seventh novel, and I have strong female characters in every one of them. But they are not the ONLY female characters. If I took your advice to heart, my female characters would be monotone Wonder Women with no surprises and no vulnerabilities. I have strong characters, traditional characters, and in between, because despite what you might think, I want a variety of characters in my stories. I'm not going to write the same female character for every role in the story, for every book, ad infinitum. And I'm certainly not going to write the same character as the lead female role every time. You write the same thing over and over again if you want to, I won't stop you.

    But to slam other writers for not writing your fantasy every time they sit at a keyboard? Nope, I'm not having that.
    Last edited by vranger; February 27th, 2021 at 05:09 PM.

  9. #19
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    Admit, at least, how a woman of fiction deserves some prison time, a facial tattoo? Of course, muscles are optional.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by MorganaPendragon25 View Post
    .... I LOVE reading female characters who are strong and independent, and a bit aggressive. I love women who are not afraid to challenge and stand up to their male adversaries.
    Oddly enough, you are in a way treating women different from men -- you like when female characters are strong.

    Fiction creates characters that our readers can use as role models. If you take, say, James Bond, it might look like just entertainment. But Bond is a character I would not mind if males tried to be.

    And surely there are girls/women who want a female heroine who is strong. So it's great that models exist.

    In my writing, I almost invariably have female characters who are strong, but in a female way that I think can be practical and useful to females. If people want to call that sexist, I'm not going to argue, maybe it is.

    In one book, the class is discussing this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

    A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
    Which is already treating women different from men. My character eventually responds:

    "I could give a shit about looking strong. I'm not strong. That's fine with me. But I want to be able to help and do what I need to do even when things get bad. That's what I want to be when I'm an adult."
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