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Would you read a First-Person POV story told by an author of the opposite gender? (1 Viewer)

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MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
So I'm really curious and I must ask this but would you read a First-Person Point-of-View story told by an author whose gender is the opposite of the main character? Would you enjoy reading a story told from the First-Person POV of a female hero told through a male author? Likewise, would you enjoy reading a story about a male hero through the First-Person POV lens of a female author?

I get that there are a lot of male authors out there who are bad at writing female characters, yet some are REALLY good at it. If you read a first-person POV story about a female hero and you knew the author of the story was a male, would that bother you at all? What if the author is really good at writing women and avoids the pitfalls that most men who write women fall into?

I'm a male author for your knowledge and I would love to write a story from the First-Person perspective of one of my female heroes. Is it strange? Am I not allowed to go inside the head of a character who is opposite my gender? I don't see why not. I'm one who treats his male and female characters as equals. I don't try to force a difference between them and their thinking.

Thoughts on this, fam?
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I've read many. This is not a new thing. Popular authors have been doing it at least well back into the 19th Century (if not first person, at least opposite sex PoV, but also many first person) ... possibly earlier. Do you need a list of examples?
 
This is so common I don't even think it's a question in most readers' minds. Readers are only bothered by an opposite-gender 1st-person perspective if the author clearly has no idea what they are doing. But I don't think anyone thinks about it when first picking up a book. I could also list a bunch of good examples; first one that pops in my head is Til We Have Faces (male author, female 1st-person PoV).
 

Crooked Bird

Senior Member
I've written that. Granted, it wasn't first-person, but I honestly think there's a lot of misconceptions about first-person being more intimate than third. You can do third in a detached way, but you can also do it in a very intimate way. So, I'm going to say I've written that--I'm a woman and have published two novels with the same young male protagonist in a very close third-person POV. In the second one he falls in unrequited love.

I did feel like it required trying to deliberately get a sense of what it's like to be male in general. There are differences. But the more fundamental common humanity makes it perfectly possible to bridge them and understand. It wasn't terribly hard and I think there are plenty of authors who do it well.

ETA: I should have read your post more closely since you do get specific about what you hope to do. I'd say, absolutely do it. And since you want to do it, I also want to get more specific about my "there are differences" statement.

I do think there are probably some innate differences. I wouldn't know, but rumor has it testosterone is a heck of a drug. But far more important to focus on, in writing, are the differences in the expectations and pressures put on you by the people around you. We all get pressures but they're shaped very differently. As a man, you've probably never (just to venture a guess) been given much grief about where the necklines of your shirts came down to. As a woman, I've never been made to feel too soft for not knowing how to use a chainsaw. (Actually I do know how, but I can't pull the pull cord sharply enough to start one on my own, unless it's quite lightweight. I suspect I'd have more trouble asking someone to start mine for me, if I were male. Not because men don't know how to ask for help etc, but because I would know what kind of looks to expect when I did it.) Those may not be examples that hit the mark for whatever culture you were raised in, but there's probably something like that. A good exercise might be reading some of the type of feminists who talk about issues specific to women, e.g. catcalling. (Can't bring anything to mind just now, but I feel like they're all over the internet, why can't I?? I dunno.)

And good luck!
 
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Cephus

Senior Member
Of course I would. Gender means nothing except to a lot of mindless millennials pushing identity politics. I don't care who writes a story, only if the story is good.
 

Crooked Bird

Senior Member
Gender means nothing except to a lot of mindless millennials pushing identity politics.

Wow, you mean our grandparents don't care about gender!! What a surprise!

(I'm just teasing. But I would like to still bring up my obligatory reminder when someone uses the M word: I found out a few months ago that I'm a millenial. I'm turning forty this year.)
 

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
I've read many. This is not a new thing. Popular authors have been doing it at least well back into the 19th Century (if not first person, at least opposite sex PoV, but also many first person) ... possibly earlier. Do you need a list of examples?

I would love to read a story featuring a 1st-Person POV female protagonist told by a male author. Give me some of those please. Give me some REALLY GREAT STORIES LIKE THAT!!!
 

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
This is so common I don't even think it's a question in most readers' minds. Readers are only bothered by an opposite-gender 1st-person perspective if the author clearly has no idea what they are doing. But I don't think anyone thinks about it when first picking up a book. I could also list a bunch of good examples; first one that pops in my head is Til We Have Faces (male author, female 1st-person PoV).

Thanks for your honesty there. Good to know that perhaps it's commonplace. I feel that some readers would find it awkward that a dude is writing a female character in 1st-person. But in reality, men and women are really one-in-the-same. We are made of the same flesh and blood and pretty much think the same way. The worst men writing women is when the male authors talk about a woman's body parts too much. You know, it's okay to make your female protagonist feel sexy and all that but she is still a human being living and breathing like all her male friends. She's not that much different than her male friends. She's not going to be thinking about her boobs all the time.
 

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
I've written that. Granted, it wasn't first-person, but I honestly think there's a lot of misconceptions about first-person being more intimate than third. You can do third in a detached way, but you can also do it in a very intimate way. So, I'm going to say I've written that--I'm a woman and have published two novels with the same young male protagonist in a very close third-person POV. In the second one he falls in unrequited love.

I did feel like it required trying to deliberately get a sense of what it's like to be male in general. There are differences. But the more fundamental common humanity makes it perfectly possible to bridge them and understand. It wasn't terribly hard and I think there are plenty of authors who do it well.

ETA: I should have read your post more closely since you do get specific about what you hope to do. I'd say, absolutely do it. And since you want to do it, I also want to get more specific about my "there are differences" statement.

I do think there are probably some innate differences. I wouldn't know, but rumor has it testosterone is a heck of a drug. But far more important to focus on, in writing, are the differences in the expectations and pressures put on you by the people around you. We all get pressures but they're shaped very differently. As a man, you've probably never (just to venture a guess) been given much grief about where the necklines of your shirts came down to. As a woman, I've never been made to feel too soft for not knowing how to use a chainsaw. (Actually I do know how, but I can't pull the pull cord sharply enough to start one on my own, unless it's quite lightweight. I suspect I'd have more trouble asking someone to start mine for me, if I were male. Not because men don't know how to ask for help etc, but because I would know what kind of looks to expect when I did it.) Those may not be examples that hit the mark for whatever culture you were raised in, but there's probably something like that. A good exercise might be reading some of the type of feminists who talk about issues specific to women, e.g. catcalling. (Can't bring anything to mind just now, but I feel like they're all over the internet, why can't I?? I dunno.)

And good luck!

Thanks much! The way I see human beings in real life...men and women included...is that we are all brought up differently. I don't like writing via gender stereotypes or gender roles...I throw all that stuff out the window. The way I write my women...especially if I stay in First-Person POV...is pretty much the same way I write my men. As a male author, I am tremendously respectful to my female characters...they can do pretty much everything their male counterparts can do...and they oftentimes do those things better.

I'm not big on romance at all. I don't like thinking about my female protagonist falling love...she will definitely never ever have any kids if she does fall in love somehow. I think my female protagonist knows how to do a lot of "guy stuff" because her father raised her that way since her mother didn't really help raise her. Is my female protagonist less of a woman because she knows how to fix a car or perhaps knows how to start a chainsaw? Definitely not. I don't think of her necessarily as a woman but more as a human being.

There are female friends I have who are physically stronger than me and know how to do more "guy stuff" than me. I don't know shit about cars (and most guys are into cars and stuff) and fixing them, I got female friends who are car enthusiasts and one even works as a mechanic and has fixed my car for me before. I don't know, it's strange the labels we give men and women. In my opinion, any man or woman can be whatever the hell they want to be. Perhaps my female protagonist loves wearing makeup and perfume and stuff on occasions, but she also loves to pump iron and build strength. I think the best characters out there are well-rounded and have a variety of characteristics.
 

MorganaPendragon25

Senior Member
Of course I would. Gender means nothing except to a lot of mindless millennials pushing identity politics. I don't care who writes a story, only if the story is good.

Good to know. I mean WHAT IF 'The Hunger Games' was written by a male author and you saw the book through Katniss's eyes? I really wouldn't care whether the author was male or female? Personally, I really didn't like Katniss's story but in any case I think a male writing Katniss would write her the same way.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Of course I would read it. As authors though, we should recognize that when something is beyond our personal experience we should research it - and in this case use beta readers.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I would love to read a story featuring a 1st-Person POV female protagonist told by a male author. Give me some of those please. Give me some REALLY GREAT STORIES LIKE THAT!!!

Start with the Sunny Randall series by Robert B. Parker.

From Heinlein, take To Sail Beyond the Sunset, and half of The Number of the Beast.

Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer.

DD Barant's Bloodhound series.

Those are a few. For goodness sakes, learn how to type into a search engine. You act like these are hard to find. ;-)
 
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