Questions tagged [gender]

For questions that deal with the representation of the social construct of gender in your writing.

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Pronouns for a character that body hops?

I'm currently writing a paranormal thriller novel where people can inhabit other peoples' bodies -- regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexuality. I'm currently in moral turmoil over how to use ...
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  • 33
11 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is there any pronoun in English that can include both HE and SHE?

Some languages like Persian do not have gender for pronouns. For example, they use just one pronoun (Ou) to refer to he/she. This makes the language gender-neutral which to me it is more convenient in ...
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0 votes
2 answers
171 views

How can I balance a male character saving his love interest without making the female seem incompetent (and vice versa)?

Stories for many, many years made frequent use of the damsel in distress trope, where female characters are depicted as needing men to save them in big, dramatic displays. People eventually realized ...
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  • 4,437
1 vote
2 answers
142 views

Using they singular sounds grammatically incorrect

I asked this question some weeks ago. I have settled on using they/them But using they/them singular sounds weird and grammatically incorrect. IE: They is struggling in school Compared to the plural ...
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  • 139
8 votes
8 answers
6k views

What pronouns should I use for a character with no gender?

I'm writing a book in which there is a character with no gender. I don't know what pronouns I should use for this character. I can't use he/she. What pronouns should I use? Example: With gender: She ...
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  • 139
5 votes
5 answers
457 views

How do I make a headstrong female character likable and not annoying?

I have a story where one of my lead characters is a headstrong young woman. In terms of personality she is hyperactive, energetic, and charismatic, but at the same time these traits make her arrogant, ...
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  • 4,437
1 vote
1 answer
95 views

How do I tastefully handle a female-to-male transforming character?

My character is a girl who is later revealed in my story to be under a curse that allows her to transform into an older man. She is sharing a body with a powerful male spirit who can take control and ...
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2 votes
2 answers
370 views

How do I keep my character's gender a complete mystery?

At first my protagonist was going to be a female role, until I started having an inclination for male characters and the fact that I am a total BL (“boy’s love”, stories about male homosexual romance) ...
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0 votes
5 answers
193 views

Should I write his/her or their? [duplicate]

I am new in this site and I hope to convey my question in a correct manner. Any employee is also entitled to receive a reference letter. This document must contain an assessment on the performance of ...
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5 votes
3 answers
325 views

How to do a non-binary character?

I'm currently writing a novel in my spare time, though I like how it's going. The main character is a non-binary young adult, I try hard to make sure it doesn't sound off when people are using they/...
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  • 51
4 votes
1 answer
228 views

How do I write a character with gender dysphoria?

So I'm partaking in a DnD 5e home brew game, and in the near-ish future my male character is going to be turned into a female character without knowing and without willingness. My question is, how do ...
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2 votes
2 answers
333 views

How to write a female character that is not just a genderflipped male character?

Recently I submitted a comic book story to a publisher, and they criticized that the main character is basically just a shonen protagonist (for example, Son Goku from Dragon Ball, Ash from Pokemon, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
257 views

How do I know if my cast is diverse enough or too diverse? [duplicate]

Basically, I am writing a story and I want to know if the characters are diverse enough or too diverse. If I just state the characters' races, sexualities, etc, it might seem forced but I didn't ...
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16 votes
7 answers
4k views

Subverting the emotional woman and stoic man trope

In my post-apocalyptic story, the split of male and female main/supporting characters is 50/50. The girls and women in the story, Eris, Marina, and Ezrith, display very little emotion--Eris ...
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  • 8,733
22 votes
14 answers
7k views

Pronouns when writing from the point of view of a robot

For the writing challenge, I'm currently writing from the point of view of a robot. Also another robot is frequently addressed. However I've hit a problem: Referring to the robots as “it” often gives ...
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  • 4,007
24 votes
14 answers
6k views

How do I present a future free of gender stereotypes without being jarring or overpowering the narrative?

My story takes place in a relatively near future setting where gender stereotypes have become a thing of the past. Unlike a recent question on another site, physiological sex-specific traits are still ...
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42 votes
12 answers
12k views

Averting Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses

Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses is when writers portray female characters possessing traditional feminine qualities as being less desirable, competent and reliable instead of their tomboy foils. They ...
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23 votes
7 answers
5k views

How do I create uniquely male characters?

In How to write strong female characters, Standback says that the best way to write a strong female character is to make her uniquely female, the type of character that can not possibly be male and ...
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  • 1,988
41 votes
13 answers
17k views

Avoiding the "not like other girls" trope?

The "not like other girls" trope is pretty common in young adult fiction, arguably misogynistic, and usually applied to a female protagonist or love interest. Attempts to make a female character ...
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  • 8,733
4 votes
2 answers
898 views

How to describe my character using they/them so the reader doesn't know their gender until their pronouns show up later?

I'm experimenting with writing nonbinary or generally gender-ambiguous characters in my writing. The most recent example of this is in an urban fantasy story I'm currently working on in my spare time, ...
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  • 347
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

How to portray a character with gender dysphoria?

Context In my fantasy novel-in-progress, one of the two main characters has a close friend he's known since childhood. Both of them are greatly developed by their interactions with each other ...
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  • 8,662
13 votes
3 answers
5k views

How would we write a misogynistic character without offending people?

In a short story I am writing, I have this misogynistic character who keeps saying misogynistic stuff, and I thought it would be a bad idea to give him dialogue lines. I was thinking that, because I ...
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  • 638
2 votes
7 answers
200 views

Will my book have a better chance at being successful if I include more gender diversity in it?

My novel so far only contains female main characters. There are some male characters, but they are few and far between, and only play minor roles. Obviously it's hard to predict if any book is going ...
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  • 2,031
24 votes
11 answers
10k views

Is it bad to have no gender variety?

The majority of stories, movies, shows, comics, and other media I've read or seen have a pretty even split between men and women, and that's fine, I don't have a problem with it. But if I want to ...
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  • 8,733
18 votes
7 answers
5k views

Realistically incorporating trans/nonbinary characters

In most books I read and movies I watch, there are rarely any LGBT characters, and the LGBT representation I do see is almost exclusively gay men, with a smaller amount of lesbians and a handful of ...
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  • 8,733
72 votes
12 answers
20k views

A critic made a comment that my female character sounds like she was written by a man

I'm a man. Working on my sci-fi novel. It's meant to be a light-hearted heist caper. My main character is a woman. She's a strong and sassy character based on the women in my life, and the story ...
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  • 731
18 votes
6 answers
9k views

How do I justify a mansplainer/misogynist?

I have a male character who is coming across as patronizing and mansplain-y. He has several scenes where he tells a (different) female protagonist how she should behave, or assumes she doesn't ...
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  • 24.3k
1 vote
4 answers
379 views

How to balance male protagonist sensitivity to women

My MC is an assassin by trade and has a military background - sniper, Special Ops, etc. He was raised partly by his sister after their parents died in a car accident. He normally listens to her as she ...
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  • 12.4k
5 votes
4 answers
822 views

How to add depth to primary female character that contrasts well with primary male characters

I am attempting to write a relatively complex SciFi military novel following 3 primary characters. A male and female protagonist, and a male antagonist. So far none of those characters are aware of ...
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37 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is meant by "purposeful, habitual, and gratuitous" actions?

In his "Characters" essay, Samuel R. Delany purports there are three types of actions to characters: "purposeful, habitual, and gratuitous." He also defends that, in a novel, if "a character [is] ...
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  • 493
23 votes
12 answers
7k views

Need advice about changing character's gender

I had this idea for a story/novel that I was very excited about, but also very worried about. The idea had a plot where the character development plot and themes all grow and go together, something I ...
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7 votes
8 answers
3k views

How to write female characters as a male writer?

Yesterday I asked a question about writing a female character who has agency. Much to my surprise, it was well-received and generated a lot of great discussion. In reading that discussion, however, ...
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  • 904
35 votes
10 answers
12k views

How to write female characters with agency?

I'm attempting to write a novel, an historical fiction with a small fantasy component (time travel through a portal). The travelers (main characters) are a young couple from the late 23rd Century who ...
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  • 904
6 votes
3 answers
431 views

How to indicate that the source language is gender-neutral?

The source language in question is Standard Chinese. It is a gender-neutral language. One big thing that English speakers complain about English is the gendered pronoun, namely the third person ...
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  • 2,522
73 votes
24 answers
22k views

How do I know if a concept is sexist or not?

In my story's world, witchcraft is a respected institution, with the most powerful practitioners being at the top echelons of society. Due to this, society traces its lineage through matrilineal lines....
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  • 1,981
17 votes
5 answers
9k views

How do male and female writing styles differ?

Many of my stories have two protagonists, one male, one female, and are told alternately from both viewpoints. I don't find it difficult to show the differing personalities through the different ways ...
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8 votes
2 answers
328 views

Moving away from a gender-based analysis

I'm writing a short essay on gender undercurrents of conversations, i.e. how do different people approach communication and problem-solving in their relationships. One way to phrase this is in terms ...
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  • 183
20 votes
15 answers
7k views

What pronoun should a hermaphrodite species use?

In my fantasy novel, I have a species that is fully hermaphroditic: all individuals have both male and female reproductive organs. Like garden snails. Consequently, they have only one gender. They ...
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16 votes
5 answers
16k views

How to describe a female character's figure without comedy?

Do you know a good way to describe a female character's figure? I'm writing a fairly serious story, but the only way I know how to describe this is from comedy stories, where they work out some joke ...
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  • 169
62 votes
12 answers
19k views

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

I have a gender-neutral name, so people often assume I'm a man. However, a portion of the writing I do is for tech companies. Because of the lack of diversity in the tech industry, many of these ...
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1 vote
3 answers
224 views

How can I write God with a more feminine aspect and introduce it into my culture's mythology?

I want to write a religion similar to Christianity but with God represented as feminine. It is meant to highlight the differences between the sexes and emphasise traits associated with women over men. ...
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6 votes
9 answers
5k views

Can I name a male character Artemis?

So I'm writing a story and there is a character that is a male that I want to name Artemis. The reason, simply put, is that he has a sister with a name I really like that is TECHNICALLY a boy's name (...
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  • 61
10 votes
12 answers
4k views

How to write from the male point of view?

Friends. I am female, and have recently decided that my first book's titular character is going to be a boy of an age between nineteen and twenty. I would like some help as to how to go about ...
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  • 1,297
39 votes
15 answers
20k views

How do I keep the gender of my main character purposely ambiguous?

I'm a newcomer to this community, and have recently started giving serious thought to my first novel. I'm basically working on an idea I had a few years back. It's fiction, has a lot to do with ...
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  • 1,297
3 votes
3 answers
705 views

What kind of an effect does breaking gender roles/stereotypes have in fiction?

Background It might sound like a silly question, I know, but something someone said to me today has made me concerned that my book sounds childish and nonsensical. Apparently: "having a woman who ...
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  • 4,389
12 votes
7 answers
2k views

Just how Different are Male and Female Readers?

It is my belief that male and female readers are more or less the same. There are differences in how we view things, but those differences do not stop us from liking the same book or movie. I can see ...
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1 vote
1 answer
115 views

Guy in the body of a girl or girl in the body of a guy? [closed]

I'm talking about teenagers/young adults. If you had to choose one, which plot can be more fun (without being vulgar - maybe just a little bit) to write and to read? Can you explain why and make some ...
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  • 205
8 votes
5 answers
2k views

How to write about transgender issues while avoiding cognitive dissonance?

As a writer, it is difficult to help your readers hold two dissonant ideas in their heads. This can occur when the situation you are describing does not match well with the lived experience of your ...
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3 votes
2 answers
2k views

What effect does the gender of the narrator have on a story?

I am reading this book, and a little girl is narrating the story. It was a new experience for me, since I am seeing the world through the eyes of a 12 year old girl. Other than the point of view of ...
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4 votes
7 answers
816 views

Is it considered faulty language to use Spivak pronouns in an essay?

High school level essay to be exact, but I'd like to also know if Spivak pronouns could be used in papers or publications. Should I just rephrase everything using the one pronoun or singular they? I'm ...
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