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What's the difference (if any) between a male's mindset vs. a female's mindset? (1 Viewer)

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MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
When writing male vs. female characters, is there a difference in how they think? In general, the world society expects males to be tough and strong, not showing emotions while society expects females to be soft and nurturing, showing emotions. I think in this day and age, all that should be thrown out the window.

There are real-life women out there who break all of those stereotypes, A woman can be an aggressive, violent fighter and be very stoic and not very nurturing (especially if she doesn't want kids and has no attachment to them). Does that make her a "man"? Heck no. Just because a woman has muscles and guts to brawl, doesn't make her a man. I don't get why some people have a problem with strong women. There are strong women all over the place in our world today. I think the term damsel-in-distress is archaic, very old term. I expect the women in my life to be capable to defend themselves, they shouldn't need a man to save them or protect them.

A man can be vulnerable too, he can breakdown during a hard time. Shows he's human. Showing emotions is not a female-only thing. Not all men are insanely strong or tough.

As for relationships between males and females, it seems like those friendships are different than those that are male/male relationships and female/female relationships. Can a man and women be best friends without any romantic ties in that bond? Of course! I'm a man who has a best friend who is female. Nothing romantic, we just enjoy hanging out together because we enjoy the same hobbies and she is a blast to have fun with. We are both happily single. Whenever I read a book, it seems like the relationship between a man and a woman is all over the place. The woman is confusing and the man fantasizes about her; that's not all true.

Thoughts?
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Men tend to be rational and objective. We imagine the slim volume of important information, concise, to the point. The man has made his point, sometimes in poetry.

'Women' like to talk, their birdsong is harmonious and fragrant, lacks the depth of man's rigour. Women's books, in a publishing sense, are larger, generally repetitious of the nonsense they spout re candles, perfume and such-like. [Shopping]

Obviously there is a place for leather-clad, snarling, violent and aggressive women characters. An island prison, an early chapter, women deprived of a man's wisdom, leaderless, a herd of women chase a pig with ill-sharpened sticks. Clothes, no longer an issue for many of these women, whether written by a man or in diagram form. There's much sympathy for the modern approach to characterisation.
 
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Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
Men tend to be rational and objective. We imagine the slim volume of important information, concise, to the point. The man has made his point, sometimes in poetry.

'Women' like to talk, their birdsong is harmonious and fragrant, lacks the depth of man's rigour. Women's books, in a publishing sense, are larger, generally repetitious of the nonsense they spout re candles, perfume and such-like. [Shopping]

Obviously there is a place for leather-clad, snarling, violent and aggressive women characters. An island prison, an early chapter, women deprived of a man's wisdom, leaderless, a herd of women chase a pig with ill-sharpened sticks. Clothes, no longer an issue for many of these women, whether written by a man or in diagram form. There's much sympathy for the modern approach to characterisation.

Bilgiferous drivel - Women are far more pragmatic than men, you've been looking at too many stereotypes.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
Oh goodness, not this again. People are people, and nobody has to be a certain way just because their biological gender says it must be so. Human beings are far more complex than that.

I agree that people are people and that human beings are complex. I also think they're (we're) quite often programmed by their (our) societies on what a man or woman is and what each can do and even what space each can occupy. I love studying ancient Greek culture and they had a strict slot for each gender-- right down even to who occupies the left side (female) or who the right side (male) in the very womb-- it began before birth.

That left/ right position carried over into other areas of their lives. (And the sorting was alive and well during the Witchcraze era too, some centuries later.) The courtesans/ heiteras and the Amazons were the women who could manage to escape society's expectations of who occupies one space and who occupies the other.

The vase paintings are also interesting. At funeral depictions it's usually the women shown as frantically wailing and pulling at their hair while the men stand by like Stoics. These spaces are still alive today. (For example, in a traditional U.S. wedding the male side of the family sits on the right side of the church and the female side sits on the left.) I find it all so interesting how a society manages to program its inhabitants to act and react in certain simplified ways even though as human beings we're all complex creatures.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
People differ, there's no stereotype. Pay attention to people you know and others around you. Watch them closely, listen to how they speak and what they notice in different situations.

That said however, hormones do play a role in how we think and perceive the world around us.

Some years ago I watched a show about a scientific study of how men and women perceive the emotions of others. In the study, a biological woman was receiving male hormones as part of a sex-change. Scientists using FMRI (Fast Magnetic Resonance Imagining) watched her brain work as she was shown people with expressions demonstrating various emotions. The more male hormones in her system, the greater difficulty she had figuring out what the people in the pictures were feeling.

Beyond that, I've noticed that the women in my life have a keener sense of smell than I do. They also notice details of what people are wearing when I don't. Many women have better articulation in their speech than I do (they're more likely to say 'yes' than 'yah'). Now, admittedly, that's a VERY small slice of the human population, but I still use it in my writing.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
Bilgiferous drivel - Women are far more pragmatic than men, you've been looking at too many stereotypes.

Respectfully, we can only work with the material we are given. Allow me to tackle...trite trope one way, and you go another...or do your best. I'm sure somebody will derive great satisfaction laying out in 1000 words 'how the world does not move to the beat of just one drum.'

It is a writer forum.

[same to the rest of you] :)
 

Sam

General
Patron
When writing male vs. female characters, is there a difference in how they think?

This is one of the biggest pitfalls that writers get mired in.

I can guarantee you that for every woman who thinks one way about a subject, another will think about it in a completely different way.

Humans are not easily categorised, nor should they be, and yet we seek to put them in boxes they ought not to be put in. We have labels for everything: geek, nerd, loner, Goth, etcetera. And we compartmentalise people based on what label we think they should have because it makes us comfortable, and our world would be turned on its head if we were to acknowledge the possibility that every human is unique in their own way, beyond what label society wishes to impose upon them.

Disabuse yourself of the notion that all men or all women will act a certain way based on a stereotype. It's specious at best and vacuous at worst. I've met women who fainted at the sight of blood, and other women who waded knee-deep through the stuff to save someone's life.

All of this is to say that your character will have a set of definable characteristics, as I've said in another thread, including but not limited to: goals, dreams, desires, needs, fears, traits, likes, dislikes; and all of these add up to create more than just a caricature of a person.

When you find yourself asking "what would a woman do in this situation?", slap yourself across the face and instead ask, "What would my character do based on the way I've characterised them?"

That way, you stay true to the character and not some stereotype.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
I shall argue how there is more mileage in the 'specious and the vacuous' than in the 'think not what woman would think, think what your character would...' zzzzzzzzzz

...which is an accepted truth, naturally, & the anatomically and grey-correct response of our great forum lands. And accepted as a hobby in of itself [see: Pompous Letters To The Times of London, green ink variety] However, should we online adopt CW teacher hat every time, or a perspective that the poster is fourteen years old? [I suppose we should do so, yes :( ]

Yet, if this were a classroom, any character might yawn at her desk, spit on the floor and stare out of the window. She would snigger in a tree house scrawling the specious and vacuous upon her den walls. Which later generations might gold-plate for posterity, probably due to her insightfulness, and published by Menthuen Penguin. She is very rich today. Meanwhile her teacher died in his obscurity, his final letter in green ink spread at his bedside, mmm.

[press send, see how that flies, mmm]

UPDATE: see Writer v The Creative Writer warfare series
 

Sam

General
Patron
Look on the bright side. If writing doesn't pan out, you definitely have a career in motivational speaking.

Magic 8-Ball says: not very likely.

Onan for one, Onan for all.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Oh goodness, not this again. People are people, and nobody has to be a certain way just because their biological gender says it must be so. Human beings are far more complex than that.
Oh my gosh, yes, please focus on your character being a person first and foremost! So many things aren't about gender, for instance:
Shyness
introvertedness/extrovertedness
appreciation for beauty
sneakiness
cleverness
abandonment issues
victimhood (either real or a mindset of victimhood)
laziness
determination
self-discipline
being analytical
free spiritedness
etc.

This reminds me of discussing with my son how to talk to girls. At first it might seem like some kind of obstacle but I told him that they're just people. That got him over the worst of the jitters.

Gender might influence some things but even that will vary from person to person.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
As keeps being said, "people vary" , but they don't simply vary randomly, many factors come into play, social and personal. Gender is one of these, but it is moderated by all the other things as well.
Some things are gender affected, women are more likely to have some sort of unwanted sexual advance made to them for example, and yes, these things do affect the way people act and react to things.
Basically I would say that the more you know about your character the better you will fit that in with their non socially acquired aspects; things like gender, size, physical strength, and maybe determination, or its lack.
 
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