Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Advice regarding a Woman's Trust in Men? (Writing Characters...) (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
So I'm writing a First-Person story through the eyes of a woman. I'm a male author by the way! I write all my women respectfully, especially the one I'm seeing the story through. So I've been trying to break down how exactly do women think differently than men? If I saw life through the eyes of a woman instead of a man, what would be different? How would she view the world differently from me?

Maybe it's how I was raised (tell me if I'm wrong) but it seems to me women really have to be on their guard a lot more than their male counterparts. When walking down a dark alley, the typical woman would probably want a buddy to walk with her (whether a male or female friend, doesn't matter) so she doesn't get attacked (or even raped...I hate to say it....). It she's attacked, it's oftentimes a male attacker.

I think part of the reason why a woman hangs out with her female friends more than her male friends is because she invests less trust in her male friends. Not true for every woman on the planet but just a generalization. Women seem to put up with so much BS from men at times. I have to admit, some men are creeps to women, and it's so sad to see. If I was a woman myself, I would love to hang out with my male friends but of course I would have to know them super good so they didn't pull off anything behind my back. I've seen a few of my male friends pull off some random shit behind their female friends' backs and it's a shame.

So when I'm writing my female hero and writing it from First-Person POV, when she's interacting with men in comparison to women, how should I approach that? Can I get some females here to chime in? When you think about your male friends compared to your female friends...at least when it comes to your level of trust in them...is there anything different? Do you keep your distance from men more than women?

Would appreciate any words of wisdom and advice you have! Thanks!
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
I don't know if you have heard about the recent study (I think in the UK) that 97% of women report being sexually assaulted or harassed by men. Everything I've heard, and my own experience say that is true in the US as well. I'm just sharing this because I think it speaks a lot to part of the experience of women right now.

From my own experience...
The other day, I was parked on a main road with my five year old daughter, getting ready to go XC skiing. A white bearded man carrying a large framed backpack crossed the road and approached the area we were parked (along with many other cars). Logically speaking there was nothing about this man that said he should be a threat, but as he approached our car, I lost focus on the conversation I was having with my daughter and moved my hand to hover over the lock as I watched him approach. I kept an eye on him until he'd loaded his car (turned out to be the one next to us) and began driving away. This was in broad daylight, but the potential threat still took a large part of my attention in that moment. If it had been a woman, I would not have had the same reaction.

At 37 now, I was raised in a family and culture where the idea of consent was not taught or discussed. Because of this, I grew up never thinking I had the option to say no when a man showed me attention. This means that I had a lot of experiences that left me feeling ashamed. I grew up thinking I wasn't supposed to get pleasure from my experiences with men, which is why it took me until my late twenties, after two marriages to realize I was a lesbian (a common experience for lesbians of my generation).

I'f I'm walking alone, I will call someone, be sure someone knows where I am, think about how I might defend myself if attacked by a man. And yes, if possible, I wouldn't walk alone in a lot of areas (not just alleys).

There have been many men in my life who I wanted to be friends with, but knew they wanted more, making it hard to be close friends. There are a couple of married men who I work with (they are first grade teachers) who I generally trust and consider good people and work friends. Otherwise I do have more women friends and do feel generally safer surrounded by women.
 
Last edited:

MistWolf

Senior Member
MorganaPendragon25, read/listen to Reign of Dragons by Olivia Ash

61G7-Zw+wRL._SL500_.jpg
 

robertn51

Friends of WF
Heh! The Question of the Ages, no? Good luck with that.

Let me be clear, as a male human, I think female humans think very much the same as us males. With one tiny immense exception: Like as not, they hold ultimate responsibility for the course of the human race. And that adds a wee bit of baggage for us both.

However, that's a silly answer, something a sociobiologist would say. And that might be sufficient. But I sense you are looking for more, something narrower. You eventually want to know about that little bitty elephantine package-deal, trust.

If you saw life through the eyes of a woman instead of a man, what would be different?

Depends.

Are you a woman in Pearlington, Mississippi, USA; or a woman in Punalur, Kerala, India; or Henningsvær, Lofoten, Norway; or Holon, Israel; or Avarua, Raratonga; or Karaj, Iran?

Are you past child-bearing age, climacteric, sexually mature, or pubescent?

Are you self-sufficient in your manner of living, or dependent upon significant others for the necessities of life?

Are you self-sufficient in your sense of worth, or dependent upon others for your psychological existence and identity?

Are you enjoying the life-affirming support and protection of a robust cohort of your peers?

Yeah. A loaded question. A bushel-bunch of them.

You can probably see there's no such thing as "a" woman. She will be different -- immensely and delightfully and deeply different -- depending upon her family, her culture, her peers, and her life experiences.

Just.
Like.
Us.
Guys.

So let's step out of the breezy corner-cutting stereotype and get down and create a female character who meets your story's needs. And then let her, not the type, tell you what the real story's all about. Because if you realize her fully, she will do just that. And she, being a woman, will be right. Might not be happy, might not deserve the tolerant respect granted "all your women," or even might not be sane; but she will be right.

Maybe more direct to your question: Will she trust a man? Well, was she betrayed, abused, harmed by one? If so, then, probably, no.

Just like you.

(A woman's putative lack of trust of men is not a built-in feature of her psyche; it is the wound a trusted man made upon her.)

Two things of perhaps usefulness.

One: Ursula K LeGuin. (Man, it hurts me to type her name. Still.) Ursula K Leguin's "Left Hand of Darkness." Soft Sci-Fi. A society of one sex. Think about that; really think about that. One sex. That book changed my perception, concept, and preconceptions about gender. Might yours, too.

Two: An anecdote which might color things. Remember Emma Donoghue's book, "Room"? It was recommended to me by a female MFA Journalist upon whom I had and still have a godzilla-sized crush. She told me the premise of the story and I went, "Ew, yuck!" She just made her elfin smile at me and went, "Read it." (She knew I'd do whatever she told me to. I liked that.) So I read it. Two days later at work I plopped into the chair next to her desk, waving my Kindle, and interrupted whatever it was she was doing with, "This is such a feminine story! I want to kill Old Nick; Donoghue just makes him gone. So frustrating!" She just did that elfin smile thing and said, "Yep." I went back to my desk.

It took a couple of days before I realized what I'd learned.

I, american male, wanted to remove a problem by vigorously and righteously creating another. Donoghue, irish-canadian female, made the problem believably gone, irrelevant, extinguished.

As if it had never existed. Not a ripple in the pond, except for beloved Jack.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Here's a thought for you, MP, I am a woman and I have tremendous difficulty trusting WOMEN. My 'lack of trust' of men is more based on whether they're strangers or I get a bad feeling about them. Women, though, on general principle I'm waiting to see if they have a knife handy for stabbing me in the back. Getting to know me can be a pain.

Something I personally have to fight all the time. Something to ponder.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Too many variables - both men and women are unique creatures. Don't get sucked into stereotypes.

In terms of writing, I've read male characters written by women that were terrible, there are more of those than terrific male characters written by women.
According to my wife, the same holds true for men writing female characters. A huge exception to this was Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - according to her the author got the emotions / fears exactly right, and she was quite surprised.

In general, yes, women probably worry about assaults more than men do, but most have learned life skills at an early age to mitigate these dangers.

If you're going to write from a female POV it pays to have women beta readers, that isn't sexist because I give the same advice to women writing men.
 

undead_av

Senior Member
When you think about your male friends compared to your female friends...at least when it comes to your level of trust in them...is there anything different? Do you keep your distance from men more than women?


For me there's a huge difference - even with male friends that I trust I try to keep a level of emotional distance with them that I don't keep with my female friends. My friendships with guys are generally not as intimate as my friendships with girls, by choice, because I've found that many times when I get close to guys, one or both of us ends up getting hurt, because it's so easy to get emotionally attached in an unhealthy way to someone of the opposite sex (I say this as a 22 yr old - this might change as I get older/as I mature and as the men I am friends with mature). That is less about trust and more about emotional/romantic tension that just sometimes inevitably happens with male-female interactions - idk. I tend to approach any man I am getting to know with more caution than I would a woman - both for reasons you named (men being creeps to women) and for reasons that I wrote about above.
 

ritudimrinautiyal

Senior Member
So I'm writing a First-Person story through the eyes of a woman. I'm a male author by the way! I write all my women respectfully, especially the one I'm seeing the story through. So I've been trying to break down how exactly do women think differently than men? If I saw life through the eyes of a woman instead of a man, what would be different? How would she view the world differently from me?

Maybe it's how I was raised (tell me if I'm wrong) but it seems to me women really have to be on their guard a lot more than their male counterparts. When walking down a dark alley, the typical woman would probably want a buddy to walk with her (whether a male or female friend, doesn't matter) so she doesn't get attacked (or even raped...I hate to say it....). It she's attacked, it's oftentimes a male attacker.

I think part of the reason why a woman hangs out with her female friends more than her male friends is because she invests less trust in her male friends. Not true for every woman on the planet but just a generalization. Women seem to put up with so much BS from men at times. I have to admit, some men are creeps to women, and it's so sad to see. If I was a woman myself, I would love to hang out with my male friends but of course I would have to know them super good so they didn't pull off anything behind my back. I've seen a few of my male friends pull off some random shit behind their female friends' backs and it's a shame.

So when I'm writing my female hero and writing it from First-Person POV, when she's interacting with men in comparison to women, how should I approach that? Can I get some females here to chime in? When you think about your male friends compared to your female friends...at least when it comes to your level of trust in them...is there anything different? Do you keep your distance from men more than women?

Would appreciate any words of wisdom and advice you have! Thanks!
 
Last edited:

TheMightyAz

Mentor
You seem to ask a heck of a lot of questions about women, which suggests you know very little about them ... so why choose to write from a woman's perspective? I had ask. It's my curiosity.
 

Riptide

WF Veterans
I'm pretty sure most of my male friends would want to sleep with me at some point. if I know they like me and are just waiting to tell me, I get super nervous and anxious, but after I let them down easy that it'll never happen, our relationship runs smoothly.

But, I agree with what a lot of people are saying and write your character like a normal person and have their experience with things dictate how they act. Just don't fall into the pit-trap of describing what we look like to ourselves in the mirror because that's usually where it turns out ugly.
 

Gofa

Friends of WF
Perspective
what if it is an animal story and POV is a dog

would you gave the same level of angst

write what you feel moved to

your character is a warrior ? A magic user ?
have her be attracted to women Just side stepped most of your inherent internal bias
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I thought this thread was about people writing from their opposite sex's perspective, which I think can be tricky. However the subject matter seems to have morphed into relationships between men and women, which may not be a good topic for this forum.

I've known both men and women that are really full of themselves; women that think every man wants to sleep with them, and men that believe they can sweet talk any woman into bed. These have been younger people mostly, still pumped full of juvenile hormones; and as I consider it, a character like that could be fun to satirically write. Older folks, such as myself, are content with friendships; we already have a primary relationship we are committed to, but enjoy talking to and learning the perspectives of others.

Several times a week I teach martial arts, and many of my students are women. Most, maybe all (I think) are married, and there are no attraction undercurrents. Over the years I've learned that people learn easier and faster when the instruction is fun, and I do my best to keep it that way. We laugh a lot, and they learn quickly.

Fear of rape/assault among women is common, which I feel is sad, but that's the world we live in. In some women/characters that fear may be over inflated, possibly due to past experiences or stories and paranoia instilled within them by society. There are men that are afraid of being assaulted too. In both cases, fear inhibits their lives, which makes them both challenging and interesting to write.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Hmmm... Here is your chance as a writer to nudge readers towards a more rational frame of mind.

I'm thinking of my god-daughter, who has been brought up with a lot of self confidence. She goes through life oblivious to the confusion she leaves in her wake. How we, with our neurosis, cope is a mystery to her.



So I'm writing a First-Person story through the eyes of a woman. I'm a male author by the way! I write all my women respectfully, especially the one I'm seeing the story through. So I've been trying to break down how exactly do women think differently than men? If I saw life through the eyes of a woman instead of a man, what would be different? How would she view the world differently from me?

Maybe it's how I was raised (tell me if I'm wrong) but it seems to me women really have to be on their guard a lot more than their male counterparts. When walking down a dark alley, the typical woman would probably want a buddy to walk with her (whether a male or female friend, doesn't matter) so she doesn't get attacked (or even raped...I hate to say it....). It she's attacked, it's oftentimes a male attacker.

I think part of the reason why a woman hangs out with her female friends more than her male friends is because she invests less trust in her male friends. Not true for every woman on the planet but just a generalization. Women seem to put up with so much BS from men at times. I have to admit, some men are creeps to women, and it's so sad to see. If I was a woman myself, I would love to hang out with my male friends but of course I would have to know them super good so they didn't pull off anything behind my back. I've seen a few of my male friends pull off some random shit behind their female friends' backs and it's a shame.

So when I'm writing my female hero and writing it from First-Person POV, when she's interacting with men in comparison to women, how should I approach that? Can I get some females here to chime in? When you think about your male friends compared to your female friends...at least when it comes to your level of trust in them...is there anything different? Do you keep your distance from men more than women?

Would appreciate any words of wisdom and advice you have! Thanks!
 

Matchu

Senior Member
@Indianroads, sincerely your post does read like the incredible opening to the greatest movie of redemption cinema. Our opening scene has the old boy interviewed upon the sofa:

"I say relationships between men and and women is no seemly conversation for peoples" [hack hack, cough cough cough] as our hero Clint he stands and he sneers through his window, sees the juvenile hormones spread on the streets & upon bicycles. He shakes his fist. "Those fukking kids ejaculatin' on my sidewalk." Cut to scene two, hero at his workplace:

"No funny business at my gym, bitches. We we are here for fun, fun! Get moving your fat asses!"

Scene 3, growling, a mug in hand volunteering at his 'knitting circle' group, learning about people, and talking about hanging rapists and paedophiles again. We see laughter in those eyes.

AND THEN SOMETHING HAPPENS. [MUSIC]...
 
Last edited:

Turnbull

Senior Member
So I'm writing a First-Person story through the eyes of a woman. I'm a male author by the way! I write all my women respectfully, especially the one I'm seeing the story through. So I've been trying to break down how exactly do women think differently than men? If I saw life through the eyes of a woman instead of a man, what would be different? How would she view the world differently from me?

Maybe it's how I was raised (tell me if I'm wrong) but it seems to me women really have to be on their guard a lot more than their male counterparts. When walking down a dark alley, the typical woman would probably want a buddy to walk with her (whether a male or female friend, doesn't matter) so she doesn't get attacked (or even raped...I hate to say it....). It she's attacked, it's oftentimes a male attacker.

I think part of the reason why a woman hangs out with her female friends more than her male friends is because she invests less trust in her male friends. Not true for every woman on the planet but just a generalization. Women seem to put up with so much BS from men at times. I have to admit, some men are creeps to women, and it's so sad to see. If I was a woman myself, I would love to hang out with my male friends but of course I would have to know them super good so they didn't pull off anything behind my back. I've seen a few of my male friends pull off some random shit behind their female friends' backs and it's a shame.

So when I'm writing my female hero and writing it from First-Person POV, when she's interacting with men in comparison to women, how should I approach that? Can I get some females here to chime in? When you think about your male friends compared to your female friends...at least when it comes to your level of trust in them...is there anything different? Do you keep your distance from men more than women?

Would appreciate any words of wisdom and advice you have! Thanks!

I haven't been harassed much myself, but I'd say the worst aspect is the whole not being allowed to say no. This applies to non-abuse situations. For example, women tend to be REALLY turned off by the phrase "I just want to talk to you", because it implies that she's somehow obligated to do so, and that she's being accused of judging a man incorrectly. Frankly, sometimes a woman just wants to be left alone, absent of the individual qualities of the male in question.

I absolutely despise being touched against my will, to the point where it's a phobia. This phobia is not gender-specific, but I've noticed that women tend to give people more space. Men, however, just go wherever they want. Not because they're arrogant or sexist or anything like that, but because they seem less aware of boundaries. For example, I was standing at a somewhat narrow place at a grocery store, and a woman who passed by went in front of me and was separated from me by my shopping cart. All is well. Then a guy who wanted to get by me decided that he wanted to go behind me, with only a very little space between me and the shelves behind me. Again, it's not really a matter of ego, but just men seem to be more physically comfortable with themselves, whereas women are much less so unless the people around them are very safe.

Needless to say, I have extremely negative feelings and unladylike language for the creeper who thought it was okay to sneak behind me.
 

Xander416

Senior Member
Here's a thought for you, MP, I am a woman and I have tremendous difficulty trusting WOMEN. My 'lack of trust' of men is more based on whether they're strangers or I get a bad feeling about them. Women, though, on general principle I'm waiting to see if they have a knife handy for stabbing me in the back. Getting to know me can be a pain.

Something I personally have to fight all the time. Something to ponder.
So, what you're saying is, women are evil?
 

Annoying kid

Senior Member
It doesn't really matter if you write the womanliest of women or the most authentic, because to be honest nobody really cares.

People care about it being interesting and entertaining. Thats it. If you can manage those two things you win. Thats all the vast majority of men and women care about with their fiction. I think you may be scared of the nightmare scenario of women calling out your hero/lead as being an unrealistic woman but it won't happen. Not as long as its interesting.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top