Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gender Roles—Can You Write Outside Your Gender?

La petite plongeuse-- 1901--Leandro-Ramon-Garrido-1868-1909 I’ve always taken gender stereotypes with a grain of salt.

I was tempted, even, to claim that gender roles were determined primarily by socialization and environment.

Keeping this in mind (and also having something of a cheap streak in me), when my daughter was small, I gave her all my old baby dolls…and I also gave her some of my son’s toys that he’d outgrown (4.5 year age difference.) “Here you are! Here are some fun cars to play with! Look how fast they go!” And I left the room.

I came back a few minutes later, and my daughter had made a little car family. There was a Daddy Car, a Mommy Car, and a little Baby Car.

My protagonists for my series are women. I get into their heads better that way, I think. But I have some very important male characters in my books and I’ll occasionally hop into their heads, too. My sidekick in the Myrtle Clover series is a man, and he makes a good foil for Myrtle.

Would I ever write a book with a male protagonist? It depends. I wouldn’t have a problem in the world writing a male detective or a cop. Could I write YA from a teenage boy’s perspective? I think so. Could I write literary fiction from a man’s perspective? I really don’t know. I think it would be challenging…or that I might end up writing a very introspective, artsy man. :)

How about you? Whom do you favor for your protagonists—male or female or both? Do you have a hard time bridging the gender gap?