RE: [mythsoc] a question on female writers of male protagonists
- Janet said: Let me toss in the name of one of my favorite male main
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.
amor vincit omnia
- 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 email@example.com, "Elizabeth Apgar Triano"
> ... Now I have a general discussion question.writers, with
> I have these past few years read a number of books by female
> 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 themoment.
> These particular male protagonists are thoughtful, reflective, andfairly
> nonviolent. Without trying to imply that men are none of thesethings, it
> does seem to me that women create such characters differently thenmen
> would, and also I have more and more been wondering whether thesegender
> 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
> amor vincit omnia
- 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
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Good answer. Didn't Flaubert say that Mme. Bovary was himself?
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, jamcconney@a... wrote:
> I remember when I was an undergraduate (somewhere around the end of
> Ages) a professor solemnly and seriously told me I shouldn't try to
> male protagonist because women couldn't handle male characters.
> I replied that Flaubert seemed to have done pretty well with Madame
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]