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9535Re: a question on female writers of male protagonists

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  • Pauline J. Alama
    Jun 21, 2003
      Hi! I've been off list for a while -- my Excite account can no longer
      handle yahoogroups, so I only tune in every now & then. Excuse me if
      I'm replying to a thread everyone else has gotten tired of.

      As the writer of one of the works Lizzie mentioned (most
      flatteringly -- thanks, Lizzie! -- honestly, guys, I didn't pay her
      to say it) I guess I ought to respond to her question about women
      writing male protagonists. But I'm not sure what to say, except to
      add a few examples. Off the top of my head, I can think of other
      examples of female writers' male protagonists that I've enjoyed a
      lot -- Ursula LeGuin's Ged (Earthsea) and Shevek (The Dispossessed),
      Joanne Rowling's Harry Potter, and Bujold's Cazaril (The Curse of
      Chalion) -- and they do seem to fit the pattern Lizzie mentioned,
      being more thoughtful, more emotionally open, and less violent than
      the male stereotype. Then, I think of some female characters created
      by male writers that I've liked: to name two very different examples,
      Lewis Carroll's Alice, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, created by Joss
      Whedon. Alice & Buffy don't have a whole lot in common, but they're
      both bold and adventurous, traits more often stereotypically assigned
      to boys. I contrast that to some of the female protagonists written
      by men that set my teeth on edge, and I think what struck me as false
      most often was when the author seemed to be thinking very
      deliberately, "I am writing a FEMALE, and FEMALES ARE DIFFERENT,"
      whereas I think the successful cross-gender writers just got inside
      the protagonist's head, forgot whether they were supposed to be male
      or female, and just made them human.

      I would be interested in hearing how the male characters written by
      female authors seem to men on the list.


      Pauline J. Alama

      - In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Elizabeth Apgar Triano"
      <lizziewriter@e...> wrote:
      > ... Now I have a general discussion question.
      > I have these past few years read a number of books by female
      writers, with
      > male protagonists. Several of C.S. Friedman's titles come to mind,
      as well
      > as _Eye of Night_, and a few other titles which escape me at the
      > These particular male protagonists are thoughtful, reflective, and
      > nonviolent. Without trying to imply that men are none of these
      things, it
      > does seem to me that women create such characters differently then
      > would, and also I have more and more been wondering whether these
      > particular characters appeal more to women than they do to men.
      > So I'd like to hear you guys and gals weigh in on, uh, er.... cross-
      > writing ??
      > Lizzie Triano
      > lizziewriter@e...
      > amor vincit omnia
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