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RE: [mythsoc] a question on female writers of male protagonists

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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