Sexist? Who, me?

Hello my darlings,

So, so, I was called sexist and ‘borderline downright misogynistic’ today. Mind you, that is not the first time.

This time it wasn’t related to my writing, but in the past it has been. People seem to find it ridiculous that a good 85% of my characters are male, and with the exception of one goddess, their entire pantheon is male also.

And half of the male cast looks is as beefy and masculine as this guy.

And half of the male cast looks about as beefy and masculine as this guy.

But what I would like to know is … how can I get called sexist when no one is jumping up and down calling Salvatore a separatist feminist? (I’m not bashing Salvatore, he is my idol, it is just an example).

Because, I don’t know how many of you read Forgotten Realms, but the drow are run by a straight-up matriarchy. It’s like a medieval fantasy Desperate Housewives. Meanwhile, Jarlaxle Baenre remains my favorite character to date.

Because hat.

Because hat.

And they worship a goddess who cannot be pictured, because spiders. But you see where I am going with this.

So, is it only OK for a fantasy society to be completely dominated by one sex if that sex is female?

I can’t relate to a lot of female characters. You know a female character is written well when I really, truly enjoy them. Kudos if I can relate at all.

I cannot relate to Mina from Dragons of a Fallen Sun (I really, really hate Mina) and I cannot relate to Goldmoon (who can?). So it is not that I need to see a “stronger” female character, I’ve seen plenty of those, and I even really like a few. (Quenthel and Triel, to come full circle back to Salvatore).

In summary: I like male characters, I enjoy writing for them, I identify with them more. End of story … that is why I write for so many. Does it mean I hate females? NO. In fact, one of my favorites (Olympia) to write for has been with me since the beginning, plays an integral role in the plot, and has a strong personality. As my writing grows (and I grow) you will meet more female characters (Nerissa Ercole will be one, in The Hollow Living. And she walks the warpath while dragging her family behind her on a string).

You know, after reading through this post, I’ve realized that a few select characters are beginning to make a lot more sense.

kiss

Ladies and gents, I give you Dragoloth.

I know this is kind of a weird, hot-button topic for some people. I just had to blow off some steam. I put up a question on my Facebook page asking “How far is too far when it comes to gender roles in fantasy novels?” Check it out, I would love to hear your thoughts! If you don’t have a Facebook, drop me a line in the comments below.

Your most adored,

C.N.F.

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11 thoughts on “Sexist? Who, me?

    • Over-reactors make me nervous, because I obsess over my public image and I know how easily it can be tarnished. On the other hand, I don’t think it is fair to withhold my true standing on most subjects from an honestly curious reader. I follow Anne Rice on Facebook and she is incredibly political, and makes no secret of her religious standing. I don’t think I could get away with all of that, not yet. It’s like a brand new teacher going up against someone who has tenure.

      • When starting out, you have to hold back and focus on your writing. You also have to realize that there are people out there who look for reasons to hate and politicize a book. The only thing we can do is ignore them and press forward. The truth and your fans will protect you.

  1. If I can toss out a theory… I don’t actually think most people know how to write a strong female character.

    I relate to male characters more, as you do, but it’s because the books I read often portray female leads very poorly. They’re either far too strong with very few if not any weaknesses or very weak with too few strengths.

    Then there are those that live on both ends of the spectrum at the same time. One moment they’re unstoppable and with nary a transition they’re sobbing like a weak willed stereo-type.

    This of course is a theory that may be completely of the mark. But I think it might have something do to with too much desire to build a strong female character. An author tries too hard and overshoots or tries too hard NOT to try too hard and undershoots. Damn, I hope that last sentence made sense.

    People are used to writing male characters and that familiarity leads to a more natural product.

    My advice is to write a male character and then put tits on him. 😛

    • I would definitely get behind that theory! The last statement about putting tits on a male character (which made me smile so hard) made me also wonder if that is why a more flamboyant character such as Lestat from the Vampire Chronicles or Seregil from The Nightrunner series are so popular amongst female readers (myself included). It’s almost like such characters are feminine enough to be more relatable than a full-on female character, but masculine enough that they come off as natural and effortless.

      If that makes any sense at all. XD

  2. *bookmarks this post*
    I, too, have a hard time with female characters. I’m told that as I am a woman, I’m weird. I thought maybe it was because I spend more time studying men….
    Thanks for writing this, and letting me know I’m not alone.

  3. I think you should just be true to your story. I’ve got stories I’ve written with male leads and stories with female leads. Some writers write for ideals, others write to be honest about what they see in the world, I say write what’s honest for you, and forget the critics. It always bothers me when I talk about my current project, which has a male lead, and people automatically assume I’m writing with a male protag because I’m still feeling oppressed by some patriarchal some such or whatever. They never once stop to consider I found that the story required a male protag. Couldn’t it be equally sexist to only write female protags because you’re trying to subscribe to some societal standard?

    Write the character that works best for your story. If it’s a female, great. If it’s a male, great. Maybe I’m off the topic you started with, but I’m sick to death of being told because I’m female I must write only female protag stories. I write what I want, thank you very much.

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