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

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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