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Do Boys Really Have Trouble Relating To A Feminine Lead?:

 1 Sand Josieph, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:32:12 PM from Grand Galloping Galaday
Bigonkers! is Magic
I've noticed that girls can very easily relate to a masculine lead (which begs the question "Why do writers think they need a female character for girls to relate to?") yet boys seem to have trouble with relating to a feminine lead. This probably has something to do with girls usually finding themselves reading so many stories with a male lead they've come to accept it (which makes me rather angry) but female leads are only very common in stories involving relationships centered around love. So is it just me and if it isn't, how can we reverse the trend?
♥♥II'GSJQGDvhhMKOmXunSrogZliLHGKVMhGVmNhBzGUPiXLYki'GRQhBITqQrrOIJKNWiXKO♥♥
 2 Mark Von Lewis, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:34:05 PM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
Personally I have no problem relating to a female lead. Hell in games where I have the option to play a female character I usually choose to do so. Because as I see it, I'm a man in real life, and games are a chance to be someone different, so I take the chance.
Run the red, won't stop at night, I don't care for traffic lights.
 3 Ian Ex Machina, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:34:37 PM from Gone with the Chickens
The Paedofinder General
Well if the author is skilled, then just have them swap the sex of the protagonist unless the story undeniably relies on the being a certain sex.
By the powers invested in me by tabloid-reading imbeciles, I pronounce you guilty of paedophilia!
This is a good topic and I'm glad you brought it up. There are a few female lead characters I appreciate greatly, but one thing that strongly makes or breaks a character's dynamism for both male and female audiences is whether or not she passes the Bechdel Test. I would like to see more media that don't overemphasize the romantic aspirations of seemingly every woman on the planet.

 5 Pykrete, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:37:42 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
Unless it's straight-up shoujo, I tend to relate more to female leads, simply because they tend to not be written as Testosterone Poisoning nearly as often tongue

 6 Deboss, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:38:20 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
My initial answer is no.

My longer answer is that if you're trying to make your character more relatable, you're not writing properly. Deliberately making the character "more relatable" tends to be done poorly and is unnecessary. It's like a Romantic Sub Plot in an action movie, drawing attention away from explosions and violence and generally just getting in the way.
Unchanging Avatar.
To be honest, I've never found a situation where the Bechdel Test would be helpful.
Except for 4/1/2011. That day lingers in my memory like...metaphor here...I should go.
 8 Funnyguts, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:44:56 PM from French Bread!
Things make people happy
^What do you mean?
,%,..@@@,.%,.@G,.@@,.% / Playing with animals.
 9 Pykrete, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:46:17 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
Well for one it says absolutely nothing about gratuitous, pointless yuri.

inb4 oxymoron.

 10 Bur, Fri, 7th Jan '11 2:51:41 PM from Flyover Country Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
This reminds me of my brief five minute forray into Pokemon forums to find out more about HGSS to find about five dozen posts in a row saying "LOL IM NOT PLAYING THE GURL IM NOT GAY". There's also those little studies where kids were asked "If you became the opposite gender what would you do first?" and one of the top answers of boys being "Kill myself."

The reasons for these opinions are probably a good place to start.
Unchanging Avatar.
@Funny: When would you use it?
Except for 4/1/2011. That day lingers in my memory like...metaphor here...I should go.
 12 Pykrete, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:09:49 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
^^ I had no compunctions whatsoever about picking the girl in RSE. I mean really. That's like +3 raepface.

At least Lucas and Ethan don't look absurd, but I still went for the girl.

edited 7th Jan '11 3:10:16 PM by Pykrete

 13 Balloon Fleet, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:31:52 PM from Chicago, IL, USA
MASTER-DEBATER
This reminds me of my brief five minute forray into Pokemon forums to find out more about HGSS to find about five dozen posts in a row saying "LOL IM NOT PLAYING THE GURL IM NOT GAY".

I love the opposite to that, the GIRL as that happens a lot on certain forums/games/culture. "I want to be the little girl" mentality...

There's also those little studies where kids were asked "If you became the opposite gender what would you do first?" and one of the top answers of boys being "Kill myself."

lol

edited 7th Jan '11 3:43:56 PM by BalloonFleet

WHASSUP.......

....with lolis!
The older of my brothers used to refuse to read anything with a female protagonist. I never got why.

The younger of my brothers, now age 5.5, has been known to tell me "That's for girls" when he sees a girl on the box of a certain toy. I told him "You could have it if you want, it's for anyone", but he simply replied "But it has a girl on it so it's for girls. This one's for boys."

Age five, he knows this! That's why boys have trouble relating to female leads - we tell them "You can't have that, it's for girls" and so they see a girl on the cover and think "not for me".
BTW, I'm a chick.
 15 Pykrete, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:35:58 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
Show him Bayonetta. See if he still thinks that.

Well, show it to him when he hits puberty anyway tongue

 16 Funnyguts, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:37:03 PM from French Bread!
Things make people happy
@Ultrayellow: I'd do my best to write good characters who are female and talk about more interesting things than boys. Unless I wanted to play around with it and have a character who is incapable of having a conversation about things other than her boyfriend. Each time she and her ladyfriend chat about something, it seems like they're going to have a Bechdel-approved conversation, but she always slips into talking about men.

I need a story to put this in first though...

Anyway. Gender norms are strongly enforced during preschool age, mostly by other children. It can be very hard to get them to think about gender in other ways...

edited 7th Jan '11 3:38:59 PM by Funnyguts

,%,..@@@,.%,.@G,.@@,.% / Playing with animals.
 17 Mark Von Lewis, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:37:48 PM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
I never was told that, myself. Granted I preferred the action figures with guns, but honestly I never really had the whole "stuff A is for girls, avoid it" mentality instilled in me.

Hell, I can sew. Mom taught me how to, and you know what? It's a damn useful skill. There have been numerous times I've had call to fix my clothing.
Run the red, won't stop at night, I don't care for traffic lights.
I'm going to take a wild stab and suggest that it's more difficult for female audiences to relate to the underdressed bimbo that typically passes for a strong go-go-gurl lead than some guy who gets his things done without shaking his ass at the camera.

I don't remember anyone male or female complaining about, say, Miyazaki heroines.

To be honest, I've never found a situation where the Bechdel Test would be helpful.

It's only really helpful when applied across an entire genre or medium, so you can compare trends. It's pretty much useless at the level of an individual work, where storyline constraints can make it impossible to pass (if, for example, there are very few characters to begin with).

 19 Balloon Fleet, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:46:07 PM from Chicago, IL, USA
MASTER-DEBATER
It could be that many males in that time of developing a gender schema are biologically stuck in that mode of development. I remember some studies that suggested that those responses could be due to that.
WHASSUP.......

....with lolis!
 20 Pykrete, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:51:10 PM from Viridian Forest
NOT THE BEES
It's only really helpful when applied across an entire genre or medium, so you can compare trends. It's pretty much useless at the level of an individual work, where storyline constraints can make it impossible to pass (if, for example, there are very few characters to begin with).

Yeah, keep in mind "Bob, hold this for a sec" is grounds to fail the Bechdel Test :/

edited 7th Jan '11 3:51:23 PM by Pykrete

 21 Funnyguts, Fri, 7th Jan '11 3:53:11 PM from French Bread!
Things make people happy
^The test isn't meant to be applied that rigorously. As long as you have more than one female character, and those female characters talk about something other than heterosexual romance, you're fine.
,%,..@@@,.%,.@G,.@@,.% / Playing with animals.
 22 Servbot, Fri, 7th Jan '11 5:11:11 PM Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Well for one it says absolutely nothing about gratuitous, pointless yuri.

Except that Girls Love has a history of being for female audiences, especially since it's one of the few genre where female characters are allowed to strive for a career outside of home-maker and have an independent life of her own.

Male otaku don't like lesbians, not even in their yuri. They prefer ones they could imagine having threesomes with.

edited 7th Jan '11 5:26:24 PM by Servbot

In Riastrad
No, if they are done well.
My name is Cu Chulainn.
Beside the raging sea I am left to moan.
Sorrow I am, for I brought down my only son.

I think the whole "Boys can't relate to a female lead" thing is largely a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Especially as kids, people want to fit in, and if that means refusing a fun toy because it has a girl on the cover and other kids will make fun of him, then little boys might think it's a sacrifice worth making. And then it becomes a habit, and in their preteen and teen years guys will subconsciously reject books and movies with female leads. Then writers notice this and because they want to make money they won't write any interesting unisex stories with female leads, pushing such characters to nothing but Harlequin and Twilight, leading everyone to think "female lead = vapid romance", driving boys further away. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But on the bright side, someone did say Screw Destiny to this prophecy - The Legend of Korra is an upcoming major action series targeted at kids with a female lead. If anyone can pull it off, it's Bryke.

edited 7th Jan '11 6:20:54 PM by OnTheOtherHandle

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left."

"Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
 25 Karalora, Fri, 7th Jan '11 6:44:58 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
[up] When ATLA was still a going concern, I was a moderator on a fan forum. One of the other moderators was a mother of three boys; she told us that when they played their ATLA games, they would argue over who got to be Toph.

And one of my co-workers has a five-year-old boy who loves Coraline. Don't try to tell me you can't get little boys to root for a female character...as long as she is a character who just happens to be female, rather than a FEMALE!character. Too many female characters are actually FEMALE!characters, defined first and foremost by the fact that they are GIRLYGIRLYGIRLS (OMG)!!!

To take a well-known example, I always thought too much was made of Kim Possible's femininity. I could deal with the cheerleading (a logical enough activity for a cute acrobat in high school), but seriously...why did her Grappling-Hook Gun have to be a hair dryer? How many of her gadgets were built into cosmetics-related items? That sort of thing. It was like being a girl was her superhero theme, and the constant attention drawn to it undercut the awesomeness.
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