What if your main characters were the opposite gender?:

Total posts: [136]
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1 JewelyJ3rd May 2011 04:49:55 PM from A state in the USA
The Bechedel test thread posed a question that I thought deserved it's own thread. I actually thought of this question earlier when I read a genderbent AU of Fullmetal Alchemist.

If you want you can switch the genders of all plot important characters for extra fun.
2 MrAHR3rd May 2011 04:51:24 PM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river


I can't tell if it would be more or less sexist that way...
3 JewelyJ3rd May 2011 04:53:15 PM from A state in the USA
Hmm really..what would make it more and less sexist?
4 MrAHR3rd May 2011 04:59:52 PM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river

Main protag: Helpless idiot child, meant to be deconstruction of the hot headed idiot hero, everybody gets annoyed by. Constantly berates sibling for dating. Is hyperish. Messes up a lot. Like, a lot a lot.

Secondary protag: Calm and lazy best friend to main protag. Better at everything than the protag, but is revealed to be a bit of a coward in combat, and has a nasty habit of fainting and being captured.

Protag's opposite gender sibling: A more calm foil to the protag. Unlike the protag, did not spend childhood fighting, but is getting a crash course in it as the series begins, and soon improves dramatically.

Random Magic Person: Catalyst to the plot. "Curses" the protag, and sticks with said protag for a month or two, despite said protag being happy with said curse. When protag does indeed change mind, random magic person serves as the leader, knowing the most about the outside world, and being the power house and the sane person.

Bishofauxnen: A person who looks like the opposite gender. Is The Arthur Dent. Serves to confuse the protag's outright rejection of anything they perceive to be sexual.

The proper combination is boy, boy, girl, girl, girl but girl, girl, boy, boy, boy is just as bad.

Personally, this is a win in my book. They are equally sexist no matter what the gender is :D

edited 3rd May '11 5:02:05 PM by MrAHR

5 chihuahua03rd May 2011 05:04:07 PM from Standoff, USA , Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Writer's Welcome Wagon
As posted on that topic:

  • Become either Justine, or Justice.
  • Would come off as either more cold, nerdy, or bookish.
  • Be a little more emotional.
  • Have more lesbian or sisterly implications with her Shinigami.
  • More makeup.
  • Comes off as more sexier as times, especially later in the series.
  • His occisional snarks would be more bitter.
  • Her quirks would be even wierder.
  • Her cousin would have a different brotherly relationship.
  • A part of her backstory would be even more shocking.
  • She would probably get glasses.
  • She'll come off by the audience as a character created by a fangirl.


  • She'll be frail instead of scrawny.
  • Her relationship with her sister would be different.
  • A later love-triangle would be even more wierder (it involves a Misa-Expy and a Christmas Cake).
  • People will underestimate her more.
  • Once she breaks...it would be an unusual set-up.

It would be very interesting to gender-flip Justin in a story. I like the thought. However, I would find a female Justin more...fascinating. Do you think it would be better to gender-flip him?

...Now I want to use a female Justin in a Character Development Thread. I'll put her down in my queue (Finn is next).

edited 3rd May '11 5:08:24 PM by chihuahua0

The Hero (female): If operating on the Character Acts As Opposite Gender principle applying to my heroine, she would be a Camp Straight Badass.

The Lancer (male): Mama Bear, Ace Pilot, Lady of War.

The Staff Chick and Shrink (female): The Medic and Shrink

The Foulmouthed Fiery Redhead Who Uses A Large Stick To Whack Things Into Submission (female): The Big Guy, who probably also uses a big stick

The Shrinking Violet Who Can Move Things With His Mind (...male): Shrinking Violet who can move things with her mind. Admittedly he's 15 as well, so there's not a lot of tweaking.

The Sensitive Guitar Player: OH MY GOD SO SEXIST.

edited 3rd May '11 5:07:37 PM by Leradny

7 Edmania3rd May 2011 05:09:14 PM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
As for my main protagonists, well...nothing, really. Well nothing in the story anyway. I'm not all that interested in exploring the pains of pms and such when I have no need to. Unless you mean mentally. But I don't really think about that stuff.

As for my antagonists...well, lets just say things would get awkward.
If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
8 AwayLaughing3rd May 2011 05:10:00 PM from Soviet Canukistan , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Likes trees.
Male made Female protag: "Gentleman" snarker barista with daddy issues.

Female made male protag: Upbeat science geek barista with an unsually, but not creepily, close relationship with their oldest (nine years older) sibling.

Other male made female protag: happy somewhat hyper radio host with weird mom issues.

FMMP's "sister": sporty and supportive but prone to bouts of severely crippling depression. Currently recovering from one such bout.

The Manager (from male to female): clumsy and panicky, not in any way good at their job, but also way nicer then the last few managers. Currently try to avoid being the next victim of their position's high turn over rate.
But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! Put out please.
9 chihuahua03rd May 2011 05:15:51 PM from Standoff, USA , Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Writer's Welcome Wagon
I'll explore my other main characters from Kira Is Justice:

  • Landras: ...Not at all, really, but he'll come off more like Ryuk.
  • Near: Would be more like a female Justin, more playful, closer to another one of my characters.
  • O: N/A.
  • Fiona: His whole Split Personality shick would come off different, perhaps creepier.

...That is just the core cast. Nothing much here, yet.

edited 3rd May '11 5:16:21 PM by chihuahua0

10 feotakahari3rd May 2011 05:25:18 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Most of my main characters were either built in accordance with subtle gender stereotypes (often Fanservice-related), or made to subvert said stereotypes. Sometimes with the same character, as when I tried to write a Cat Girl as an out-of-control Heroic Sociopath—giving a male character the same motifs would make him seem like a mere acknowledgement of cats' predatory qualities, rather than a deliberate lampshading of them. That said, the only character I can think of who would really be lessened by a gender switch is an antisocial security guard, and only because her Character Evolution revolves around her becoming more trusting and willing to work with others without becoming any less butch.

(BTW, in the same story as the Cat Girl I actually did switch The One Guy to a girl, in the hopes that this would make him less bland. No such luck, and given that I was already passing the Bechdel test . . .)

edited 3rd May '11 5:28:05 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
My characters wouldn't change much if I flipped the genders. I don't really play into gender stereotypes, roles, or use any polarizing gender tropes. Since I assign characters to a story after I come up with a premise or a concept, I don't have a "gender default" when I write.

However, if I made my six female protagonists boys, the purpose would pretty much be defeated, since its a Magical Girl story. All of the secondary characters would be the same, though.

edited 3rd May '11 7:53:51 PM by BetsyandtheFiveAvengers

12 chihuahua03rd May 2011 06:04:45 PM from Standoff, USA , Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Writer's Welcome Wagon
[up] Why not Magical Boys? -points to "Magical Boys: Do They Exist" topic in Anime section-

I have little true girly-girls in my works, so gender-flipping them is easier, but that will change.

[up] I could do Magical Boys...but it would change the whole the whole background in my universe. The characters probably wouldn't be any different, but the plot would.
Responsible adult
My post in the original discussion:

If Cora was male, I imagine the primary change would be that more people would express shock in the great Pure Soul being male in the same way we might react to a female doctor or soldier—it's a bit of a surprise, Not That There's Anything Wrong with That in this day and age, dearie, these are enlightened times after all, but old habits and mores die hard, you know, but don't feel discouraged because we all still believe in you, honey (at which point, Corado would slam himself into his room and complain at his Fairy Companion Strawberry because of all the people condescending to him).

And other than one scene not existing, it would be mostly the same. Corado would probably be more Kyon than Daria, though.

But let's do her castmates for fun:

  • Female Boysenberry, "Strawberry": Instead of a constantly unpleasable boss/teammate, Strawberry probably comes off as more of a constantly PMS'ing girlfriend. Possibly, she seems like a more acerbic Tatl.

  • Male Mariselle, "Martiso": Mari was originally designed to be a parody of Ms. Fanservice, so I suppose her Distaff Counterpart is a parody of Mr. Fanservice. Imagine a sort of hybrid of Dante and Indiana Jones (with a side-order of The Medic) and there you go. However, he's still the most initially welcoming and kindly member of the party in a big brother-ish way.

  • Female Danbarre, "Dani": Still a Boisterous Bruiser, but in the same way people are surprised to see a male sorcerer of such power, people are surprised by a female blacksmith/sword-swinger. So Corado would probably bond with "Aunt Dani" over that shared oddness. Mostly, Dani probably comes off as even more crude for her various traits (foul-mouthed, lustful, pugilistic, etc.) than her male counterpart does.

  • Female Jasper, "Jade": Well, Jasper was written to be a male subversion of a lot of traits associated with princesses, so Jade probably comes off as an awful Damsel Scrappy to a lot of people, despite her Character Development into an action girl with a backbone. And unlike Jasper (whom my beta readers seem to universally love and consider a Woobie), she's utterly hated.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
15 nrjxll3rd May 2011 07:08:46 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
Copy-pasted from the Bechdel Test thread:

I can't remember the last time I wrote a story with a single main protagonist instead of an ensemble cast. However, I can't say that gender-flipping my characters would have a huge impact on things. In my comics, if I did this to just one of the Nerds (main sixteen protagonists - all male for reasons mentioned in that thread), it would probably have the biggest impact. Although the three Smart Guys would be uninvolved , most of them have your stereotypical nerd experience with women, so it's possible that whoever became the female character would pick up a probably Unwanted Harem. However, I doubt that would get much focus, as I'm not that good at writing romance. Also, if one particular character became female, it would do in the Official Couple due to Incompatible Orientation.

Overall, though, I doubt it would have any real effect on the character's personality, because compared to other things that might influence how I write a character, gender is distinctly secondary. It's not completely the case, but I believe a lot of modern gender traits are entirely cultural in nature, and as my works rarely feature the modern world as a main setting, I'm inclined to throw them out entirely. For works in sufficiently genderblind societies, like my hard science fiction work, I could literally choose my characters' genders by flipping a coin (or more likely rolling a die - things are a little weird in the 28th century). I find the idea that rewriting a story with the protagonist the opposite gender would really make things different a little questionable, overall.

I have to say, looking at this thread, I find some of these responses a little... perturbing.

Edit: [up]Considering how fans would view the characters is something else entirely, I'll grant.

edited 3rd May '11 7:10:56 PM by nrjxll

16 Wolf10663rd May 2011 07:42:15 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Typin' strangely
Just sex-flipping one of the families in my work would result in a woman romantically involved with two men, one straight, the other bi. The bi bloke would also have a completely homosexual boyfriend. The woman would have 4 kids - two boys, two girls - from a previous relationship. In this version, the boys would be younger than the girls.

Another family would not change much - a couple with two kids, the only difference being the boy and girl would be born in reverse order.

Another family would have a couple with a homosexual son who is dating a man who lives with his solo dad.

The remaining family it would not work for at all without completely changing their religion, ethics and motivations as it would change from a man with three wives, practising Scriptural Polygamy, to a woman with three husbands - which would not fit.

Their skills and personalities would mostly still work even if their sexes were changed.

edited 3rd May '11 7:46:45 PM by Wolf1066

Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
17 annebeeche3rd May 2011 07:49:02 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
There actually wouldn't be a plot if Beowulf was female because the reason why he was sent to Grendel in the first place was because his uncle was concerned about his manliness.
Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion.
I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
18 LoniJay3rd May 2011 09:12:10 PM from Australia , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Hmm, the trio of characters I have that floats around:

Tristan: Male healer, complete pacifist, a bit of a know-it-all. If genderbent she would be a walking Closer to Earth stereotype.

Suzanna: Female swordswoman, Only Sane Man, very cocky but knows a lot less than she likes to pretend she does. Genderbent, he would also be a stereotype but not as bad as Tristan.

Delmar: Male mage with a liking for fire powers, recently blinded, proud and rather snarky, complains a lot. Probably works OK for both genders, but I prefer him male.

edited 4th May '11 1:37:06 AM by LoniJay

Be not afraid...
19 animemetalhead3rd May 2011 09:31:09 PM from Ashwood Landing, ME
Runs on Awesomeness
Well, my leads would go from being Schoolgirl Lesbians to Heterosexual Life-Partners (Simply by virtue of Girl-on-Girl Is Hot and I'm just uncomfortable with writing yaoi guys). Yuki's name would stay the same, Amaya I'd have to come up with something new.

Leo would pretty much be identical, just swap the Y chromosome for another X and change the name and nothing else really happens.

Lena goes from succubus to incubus, probably turns into a white-haired pretty boy, and puts on a lot more clothes.

Mordecai... basically turns into Panty, except obsessed with money instead of men.

All in all, not much changes except I drop the romantic elements between the leads.
No one believes me when I say angels can turn their panties into guns.
Responsible adult
@nrj: It's a Double Standard, Adorkable vs. Real Women Never Wear Dresses kind of thing. Admittedly, I do kind of understand where it comes from. A male character presented as weak and vulnerable but caring is rare, and feels more novel and daring. Plus, although many women like that kind of male, they are rarely openly catered to—leading to woobification and ukefication in fan works. But a women presented in that Yamato Nadeshiko way feels as if it's playing into the same old stereotypes, and gives the impression that the writers don't really care about their female characters; they're just parroting archetypes.

Admittedly, Jasper's arc is still Character Development-driven, and would remain the same for "Jade." Jasper's arc is all about realizing that, although he thought he liked a person, he was more entranced with the idea of them. He then learns to like them for who they are and not whom he remembers them as, allowing him to grow past his hangups and actually start being of assistance. "Jade" would be pretty much the same way... though I doubt it would save her from fangirls. Especially because, in this genderbent AU, the preferred ship is Corado/Marti.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
21 dRoy4th May 2011 03:36:27 AM from The Happy Place , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Perpetually clueless
Let's see...

All in all, I think it would still makes a lot of sense if my fic is genderflipped. I think that if my work gets published, be a huge financial success, I think I would actually take time making a gender bent version of my story as some kind of spin off. I have a guess that it would turn out like a Magical Girl Warrior anime.

edited 4th May '11 3:39:12 AM by dRoy

Mother of god...You turned one of the hardest and best Champions into an absolute joke. - Zelenal
22 Morven4th May 2011 04:41:13 AM from Seattle, WA, USA
For the work with the working title Eternal Anhelia (Yes, it's awful. I suck at titles.) :-

Hmm, this could be quite interesting. And very gay.

What's interesting about that is while pretty much every character in this could be the opposite gender without any trouble at all, the feel of the work changes a lot. I think it would actually have a bunch more appeal to a wide audience with everything gender-flipped, if for nothing else that the screaming gayness of it all tends to be a little more commercially acceptable than the lesbianism-soaked version as I originally concieved it.

I also suspect that the abusiveness that characterized main character Anhelia's sexual past would be seen as far less troubling for male counterpart Anhel; in fact, people would probably just view it as hot angry man-love.

edited 4th May '11 4:42:14 AM by Morven

A brighter future for a darker age.
23 MajorTom4th May 2011 06:29:04 AM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
Hmm...genderflipping my cast for a hypothetical.

Well I know for one thing the Yaoi Fangirls would come out in force for the genderflip version of Admiral Mei Lin's bridge crew. After all, nothing says Ho Yay on a starship than all-male Bridge Bunnies. (Admiral Mei Lin's bridge crew herself included is entirely women.)

Tenchi Yamanaka would be rightfully classed as a Lady of War, Mathias would be a Genki Girl extraordinaire, Jessie would probably turn into a Kenshin Himura Expy of sorts. And for some reason, I get a Nice Guy version of House when I genderbend Samantha.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
Polite smartass.
This is a fun exercise. Let me see...

The Hero: Del (male.) Renamed Delia. Would become a Mama Bear, Defrosting Ice Queen, Kuudere, Girl with a Gun, Yamato Nadeshiko, and the Deadpan Snarker / Knight in Sour Armor elements carrying over. It would be nice not to have to worry about the Intergenerational Friendship sparking a Pædo Hunt, after all, women can't be creeps and all men who hang out with kids are.

The Lancer: Ripley (female.) Renamed, uh, Ripley, because I actually took care to make sure her name was unisex. I can't decide if I should keep her typically masculine habits to make a case of Rated M for Manly or flip the entire dynamic along with the gender. Probably the latter, which would lead to the Young Gun and Real Men Wear Pink archetype: instead of the solitary Wrench Wench / Girl with Psycho Weapon, becoming a Cultured Badass or a Beware the Nice Ones situation. Either way, Ripley is Ripley and he/she's still gotta be crazy, but I think male!Ripley would be more subdued and genteel than her current form.

The Kid / The Heart / MacGuffin Girl: Farren (female.) Renamed Felix. Since she's only 11 a lot of the Gender and Sexuality Tropes don't really apply to her yet. I guess I'd just Palette Swap her color scheme a bit and cut her hair. She'd still fill the same role in the story and have roughly the same relationship with the other characters. I just like drawing girl's clothes more.

edited 4th May '11 7:04:49 AM by Takwin

I've returned from the depths to continue politely irritating the good people of TV Tropes.(◕‿◕✿)
25 Misuki4th May 2011 09:49:38 AM from Texas, USA , Relationship Status: Married to the job
Discworld Denizen
My character's names would be amusing, to say the least, and it would be kinda easy...

  • Aaron -> Erin
  • Karlo -> Karla
  • Natalia -> Nathaniel
  • Stephanie -> Stephen
  • Richard -> Regina
  • Joshua (The Dragon) -> Josephina
  • Raymond (Big Bad) -> Rachel
  • Alexandra -> Alexander
  • Benjamin (Erin's... Mother, now? XD) -> Beatrice

It could definitely look like the same plot, only it would look a lot more terrifying that Beatrice, Erin's mother gets taken as a prisoner of war because of the implications... -shudder-

But the idea of a famous female scientist making a clone with her daughter has a strange satisfaction...

And the Ax-Crazy female Revolutionary Alexandra turning male is just VERY scary to me.

Sentria itself would look very female dominated if I bent genders. 8D

Total posts: 136
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