Female Characters and how they are written.

I recently read an article that pretty much summed up a lot of my recent thoughts on men and how they write women. I will link at the bottom of this rant, as well as provide some quotes that really touched base with me.

To those of you that don’t know, I’ve been a part of the online roleplaying community for quite some time. The game I play, The Land of Karchan (http://www.karchan.org), I am actually an admin on right now. I program fun things for the game. Recently, I’ve really had some people strike a nerve with me, specifically, male players that play females.

Let me start off by saying that there is no one specific I have in mind, and these thoughts are just loosely based on behaviors I have observed in these characters.

As a woman, I acknowledge that feeling sexy can make you feel powerful. I’m guilty of making curvaceous women all the time, but part of my problems right now stem from the fact that I do not think a female character in any position has to sleep around to get power, or has to sleep around to be sexy. There are strong women out there that do not need to spread their legs to get places, and part of my issues with male RPers and writers in general that I see far too often, is how trashy they write their women. There is a fine line between being empowered and sexually free and just being a whore! The line is crossed over and over again. The character’s effectiveness in my eyes, greatly dwindles if she is a weak, insecure being that sleeps around. How effective can a female character be if she is only on her back all the time?

Do I read sexual books? Yes, but there has to be a story there or I can’t get into it. Mindless sex in books every other page does not satisfy my mind. I like reading sex scenes/love scenes, I like writing them, but if a novel or storyline or rp is nothing but rampant fornication and everything centers around the pleasures of the flesh, that is a turn off for me. I like depth. I like characters that look like more than what they are. I like to write my females as powerful, sensual, but not riding the line between eroticism and sleaze. There have been times where I have made my characters prudes just to avoid falling into that habit myself.

Quotes from the article and why I thought it was worth reading:

~*~ “You often hear about men who “just can’t do female characters” — for whatever reason, the argument often goes, these female characters don’t ring true. They rely too much on stereotypes, on the bitterness or the idealism of their creators, on how horny the author happened to be while writing the book.”

~*~ “And nowadays, when the question of the gap between genders is pressing and exceptionally fraught, I not-so-humbly urge writers to think through the basics that are not taught by how-to columns on writing. You can write a good thriller by following the advice of the pros, of course, but you can write an even better book if you break out of the givens of life: whichever side of the debate you end up on, whether you think we’re biologically programmed to behave like men and women, or you think we’re all just following codes and behaving as we were taught to behave from a young age, your fiction will surely gain psychological depth if you can think through some of these issues. Otherwise, you could end up being that guy who always writes women characters as if he hasn’t had sex in five years, or you could end up that woman who is quite honestly convinced that all men are bastards and whose male characters are all greedy disappointing bastards. See how I stereotype? Nobody wants to be that guy, that gal. Stereotypes have the power to forge allegiances to characters before we’ve even had a chance to see them doing anything of importance.”

~*~ “Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 made me laugh in despair whenever it was clear that Murakami was converting his sexual frustration into “feminine understanding” — look at this example. Women usually have breasts, so Murakami does this kind of thing all the time — get ready for an onslaught:” (Millions of quotes ensue by this point)

And finally, the actual article:

http://litreactor.com/columns/her-breasts-were-too-small-why-a-dose-of-feminism-is-good-for-writers

2013 – Bust!

Like many people all over the world, I made New Year’s Resolutions on January 1st, 2013. I had it all planned in my head. I was going to slim down, read more, write more, lots of things.

Well, bust.

I had three resolutions exactly. THREE. I only succeeded at one of them.

1. Read a book a week. – I failed this miserably. I read a total of seven books this year. SEVEN. That is nowhere near fifty-two.

2. Lose a significant amount of weight. – I did this backwards? I gained quite a bit due to some health issues. Being in pain is not exactly conducive to a good exercise regime.

3. Finish Lady Carlotta’s Pearls, my manuscript. I actually did this. I finished writing it in April, then made my revisions, then sent it in to a publisher. It was turned away, so I sat on it for awhile before sending it in to publisher #2. I still won’t know if it will be accepted or not, as I have only been waiting a month, but I still feel like this was a good start to getting my foot in the door.

My goals for 2014 are pretty much the same, with minor adjustments.

1. I want to read at least twenty books by the end of the year. This time I’m really going to stick with it. If I can read more, that would be great, but I feel like twenty is a more attainable goal, and with the way I’ve been practically inhaling the written word lately, this may be a goal I’m more excited to reach. I shouldn’t overwhelm myself with monstrous resolutions. I feel like aiming too high will cause me to get stuck in the mud. I have to have motivation to do anything, and as much as that sucks, I plan on making this goal with goodreads.com doing my counting for me.

2. I want to lose weight. Most of you know I’m at a very, very unhealthy weight, and it is majorly affecting my health. I have fatty liver, I’m in pain all the time, and I’m pre-diabetic. At this point, losing weight is more than a want, it is a need. I’m already constructing my battle plan for that hump, so wish me luck. I’ll need it. Fortunately, I’ll be armed with prescription strength motrin this time.

3. I would like to finish another manuscript. I have two unfinished manuscripts right now. I have 50k on one, and 30k on another. The problem is, I have this other idea nagging me, so I’ve begun a third manuscript on something not completely fleshed out in my head.

So there we have it. Feel free to poke and prod, ask questions, do whatever you want. I’m inviting you to give me the swift kick to the ass that I need to stay motivated. Nagging me only makes me do nothing to spite you. Encouraging me and reminding me that these are MY goals that I need to do for myself? That should get me somewhere.

So I’m putting 2013 behind me. 2014, be ready, because I’m a girl on a mission.

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 29

-DAY 29-

A book everyone hated but you liked.

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Almost anyone I have ever mentioned this book to in the past has told me they hated it. I read it back in 7th grade for Battle of the Books and loved it, and it left quite an impression on me.

It’s set in the future, where jobs are doled out to people at a certain age. Every so often, when the giver is unwell, a new child must be selected to take his place. He’s called the giver because he gives memories and emotions for the new child to experience. Things like love, grief, pain, and other feelings have never been experienced by the future children. Love is actually an archaic word. Children are bred from mothers and fathers whose job alone is to breed for the others, and marriages are arranged by those in charge. Then children are given to these people.

The only person that knows what real love was and pain, and grief and other emotions and experiences, is the giver, followed by the child meant to take his place in old age.

It is kind of bitter and heavy for that age group, leading a lot of people to think of it as age-inappropriate, but I remember being fascinated by the book’s premise.

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 28

-DAY 28-

Your favorite book title.

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This is technically a book, and the first in a series.

To those of you who like manga, manwha, and anime, this is a yaoi comic about a kid who becomes a medium while trying to figure out his feelings for his best friend.

I just thought the name was clever, a (doesn’t know it yet) gay youth with a knack for the spiritual: Eerie Queerie!

In Japan, the name was much different, but this English name always makes me smile.

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 27

 

-DAY 27-

The most surprising twist or ending.

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There are plenty of books that I could have said here, and they will get honorable mentions below.

I just finished this in the wee hours of the morning. It is a book that is almost 100% true to the Hans Christian Anderson version of The Little Mermaid, aka something that I obsess over.

I knew there was going to be a twist, but I didn’t want to ruin it so I didn’t look up spoilers. The twist at the end was nice, and this book was bittersweet.

Great book for mermaid lovers, if not a bit sad.

HONORABLE MENTIONS 😉

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk and Bay’s End by Edward Lorn.

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 26

-DAY 26-

A book that changed your opinion on something.

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This was required reading in English class in high school, but I can’t remember which grade. For those of you that haven’t read it, it is actually a very political book. Animal Farm is banned in many countries because of the message behind it.

The reason I chose this book for today is because most of my adolescence and teen years in general, I was the kid that didn’t want to fit the mold, but felt like I had to be shoved into the mold and locked in and conform. I had (have) a religious family, live in the South (some of you southerners will know why this is worth mentioning), and I desired more.

This book, in an nutshell, is about overthrowing a leader when oppressed. It taught me that it actually isn’t okay to let people in authority trample all over you and oppress you. It taught me that breaking free of the mold is worth fighting for, and I attribute many of my current personality traits to what this book showed to me.

Was it violent? Yes, but it served as a much needed wake up call to a younger me that I didn’t have to conform. I could be my own person. I could be whatever I wanted to be and if someone wanted to take away those freedoms, I have the right to stand up for myself. I would never kill anyone, but I am quick to take up for myself now, which is something I never used to do.

Thank you, George Orwell.

30 Day Book Challenge – Day 25

-DAY 25-

The character you most relate to.

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Maybe this is cheating because Girl, Interrupted is more of a memoir, but it was the only “character” that I felt I related to.

Girl, Interrupted is the memoir of Susanna Kaysen, a young woman who goes to a mental hospital for a couple of years.

I should start off by saying that I have never been to a mental hospital, but both I and the author of this book suffer from a mental disorder called Borderline Personality Disorder. In addition to that, I have other mental illnesses, but it was the way she wrote the book and her experiences while at that hospital that touched me. She struggles with self image. She struggles relating to the people around her. Some days, she thinks she is a lot crazier than she is, and I KNOW those feelings. I know those struggles despite having very different circumstances.

So while it may be a ‘cop out’ since I’ve chosen  a real person and not just a character, Susanna Kaysen was the only person that came to mind.

Also, the movie is different from the book in a lot of ways. Good movie, poignant book.