Questions tagged [gender]

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

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91
votes
17answers
9k views

What's the modern way to handle gender in tech writing?

Back in my day, I was taught to use masculine pronouns. The user chooses a password, and then he types it in the text box. I'm fine with that. but a male coworker insists on using he/she, which ...
69
votes
12answers
19k 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 ...
65
votes
22answers
21k 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....
58
votes
12answers
18k 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 ...
45
votes
12answers
10k 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 ...
40
votes
13answers
15k 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 ...
36
votes
15answers
16k 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
6k views

Pitfalls of writing a main character of different gender to the author, specifically first-person perspective?

This is my first question on here, so bear with me, if you will. My question is in two-parts: a) When writing in first-person, is it wise to choose a main character of a different gender to yourself ...
23
votes
14answers
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 ...
23
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
22
votes
11answers
9k 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 ...
22
votes
11answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
8answers
3k views

Is it frustrating not to know the narrator's gender?

I have written a 1st person piece and reading it I realize it's very difficult to tell if the narrator is male or female. There are one or two clues, and they come pretty late in the piece. Would ...
18
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
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 ...
17
votes
13answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
16
votes
11answers
5k views

How to write realistic female dialogue

I just can't make my dialogue sound like it's being said by a woman. As a friend of mine pointed out, "This woman talks just like you, Jack." I tried imitating the speech patterns of various females ...
15
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
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 ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

The opposite sex in first person?

I have been writing about not just one, but two females; sisters. I've toyed with different methods/persons in this, but it seems I've come to an obvious roadblock. I wouldn't call it "writer's block" ...
10
votes
11answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you develop a strong female character?

Are there specific characteristics that one should strive for when trying to develop a strong female character? Is it truly dependent on the genre of the book, or are there certain elements that carry ...
8
votes
2answers
264 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
832 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 (...
5
votes
7answers
923 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
223 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I handle teenage sex in books for teenagers?

I am writing a book, in which the protagonists are two teenagers. They fell in love and it is time they were alone and had sex. As long as the book is destined for teenagers from 15-19, I would like ...
4
votes
5answers
604 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 eliminate this option all together, never think about it again ...
3
votes
3answers
589 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
334 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
420 views

Does there have to be a difference when writing different genders? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The opposite sex in first person? How to write realistic female dialogue Is there an inherent difference in how man and women speak that would translate to writing dialogue? I ...
2
votes
6answers
133 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
189 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. ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

YA bestsellers by reader's gender

There are lists with YA bestsellers. What they don't tell me is which books are bought by girls, and which by boys. Are there any resources showing (YA) bestsellers by reader's gender?
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Making a female character sound more boyish/masculine

There are two characters in the following dialogue. One of them (Yuki) is a tomboy. She has short hair, dresses like a man, and likes girls. I want to make her sound more masculine (but not exactly ...
1
vote
3answers
680 views

When developing a stage play, whose gender matters more? The characters' or the actors'?

When striving for gender balance in a play: What is more important, balance among the characters or among the actors? (Given that all characters are written as individuals, and not as stereotypes.) ...
1
vote
1answer
103 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
121 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, ...
0
votes
4answers
304 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 ...