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a question on female writers of male protagonists

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  • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
    ... 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.
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 13, 2003
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      ... 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 moment.
      These particular male protagonists are thoughtful, reflective, and fairly
      nonviolent. Without trying to imply that men are none of these things, it
      does seem to me that women create such characters differently then men
      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-gender
      writing ??


      Lizzie Triano
      lizziewriter@...
      amor vincit omnia
    • Croft, Janet B
      Let me toss in the name of one of my favorite male main characters created by a female author -- Lois McMaster Bujold s Miles Vorkosigan. And in contrast, a
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 13, 2003
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        Let me toss in the name of one of my favorite male main characters created
        by a female author -- Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan. And in
        contrast, a similar female main character created by a male author -- David
        Weber's Honor Harrington. Miles appeals more to me -- Honor leaves me a bit
        cold, and she seems less real as a person.

        Janet Croft


        -----Original Message-----
        From: Elizabeth Apgar Triano [mailto:lizziewriter@...]
        Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 6:57 AM
        To: Mythsoc
        Subject: [mythsoc] a question on female writers of male protagonists



        ... 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 moment.
        These particular male protagonists are thoughtful, reflective, and fairly
        nonviolent. Without trying to imply that men are none of these things, it
        does seem to me that women create such characters differently then men
        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-gender
        writing ??


        Lizzie Triano
        lizziewriter@...
        amor vincit omnia





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      • Elizabeth Apgar Triano
        Janet said: Let me toss in the name of one of my favorite male main characters created by a female author -- Lois McMaster Bujold s Miles Vorkosigan. And in
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 15, 2003
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          Janet said: Let me toss in the name of one of my favorite male main
          characters created
          by a female author -- Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan. And in
          contrast, a similar female main character created by a male author -- David
          Weber's Honor Harrington. Miles appeals more to me -- Honor leaves me a bit
          cold, and she seems less real as a person. >>

          I have heard of Miles V more than a few times on this list. One of these
          days I will have to read some of LMB's work. I haven't heard of the other
          one, I don't think. Honor sounds like a detective novel protagonist ...

          I had a little trouble relating to Paksenarrion in The Deed of
          Paksenarrion. She was so totally beyond not interested in areas that I
          couldn't imagine not being interested in. The expression "not interested"
          doesn't even come close. By sometime past halfway through the work, I had
          adjusted, and by the end, I was left with a lot to think about, but it took
          a while. I don't think she would have worked as well if she had been
          different. I wonder if the writer (whose name I always mix with another
          and am not going to attempt just at the moment), a woman and a Marine
          apparently, thought the same way. People are individuals after all, and
          generalizations based on gender will in the end be imperfect.

          Still I would like to hear some of the men weigh in on characters such as,
          perhaps, Friedman's priest and POV character in the Coldfire trilogy.

          And I wish I'd kept those Northern Dancer books, for something that pushes
          the gender question even further, just for my own reference material.

          I guess these questions are more reading-group questions than mythsoc ones,
          but at the moment you guys are all I've got.

          best,

          Lizzie Triano
          lizziewriter@...
          amor vincit omnia
        • Pauline J. Alama
          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
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 21, 2003
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            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

            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
            moment.
            > These particular male protagonists are thoughtful, reflective, and
            fairly
            > nonviolent. Without trying to imply that men are none of these
            things, it
            > does seem to me that women create such characters differently then
            men
            > 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-
            gender
            > writing ??
            >
            >
            > Lizzie Triano
            > lizziewriter@e...
            > amor vincit omnia
          • jamcconney@aol.com
            I remember when I was an undergraduate (somewhere around the end of the Dark Ages) a professor solemnly and seriously told me I shouldn t try to write a male
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 21, 2003
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              I remember when I was an undergraduate (somewhere around the end of the Dark
              Ages) a professor solemnly and seriously told me I shouldn't try to write a
              male protagonist because women couldn't handle male characters.

              I replied that Flaubert seemed to have done pretty well with Madame
              Bovary....

              Anne


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Pauline J. Alama
              Good answer. Didn t Flaubert say that Mme. Bovary was himself? Typical, IMO. Pauline ... the Dark ... write a
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 30, 2003
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                Good answer. Didn't Flaubert say that Mme. Bovary was himself?
                Typical, IMO.
                Pauline
                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, jamcconney@a... wrote:
                > I remember when I was an undergraduate (somewhere around the end of
                the Dark
                > Ages) a professor solemnly and seriously told me I shouldn't try to
                write a
                > male protagonist because women couldn't handle male characters.
                >
                > I replied that Flaubert seemed to have done pretty well with Madame
                > Bovary....
                >
                > Anne
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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