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Male vs. Female Protagonists:

Rabid Fujoshi
I feel like we have a lot of male protagonists in the stories written here in the forum. Part of this might be inherent gender bias to make your protagonist the same gender as you, since we have more males than females, I believe, but what are you guys' thoughts on this? Do you ever write a protagonist who isn't your gender? How do you choose which gender your protagonist will be, or do you choose at all but just default to your gender? What do you do differently when you write the other gender? Discuss.
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 2 USAF713, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 3:55:19 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Let's see... Knightfall and American Armor have male protagonists because I'm a guy and that's basically what I default to, while Innocence Lost has male protagonists because the setting essentially requires it for the sake of historical accuracy. Soul has a male protagonist but the main cast actually has more females than males, and Midas has a female protagonist. Crossover is an RPG concept so the protagonist can be male or female.

...

Yup. I apparently have a gender bias. :/ I don't see the point in trying to force the characters into gender roles they may not be suited to for the sake of equality, though. Better to just focus on representing the genders fairly and realistically.
I am now known as Flyboy.
 3 Sidewinder, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 3:55:34 PM Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Sneaky Bastard
I use an ensemble with an even gender balance. So far at least. My future plans will make the females outnumber the males.

I watched a lot of Joss Whedon, and he has influenced me quite a bit. And I think the differences between males and females are exaggerated. After all, we're all human and the same things drive all of us. We eat, protect our young and want to be happy. Most real differences are either individual or the result of culture. And seeing as I always write about abnormal people it's appropriate that they defy culture.

 4 d Roy, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 3:57:16 PM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
Well, my main character's sister/secondary protagonist and a key Villain Protagonist is a girl.

Yeah, to be honest, I never had much experience with girls so I don't know how to write them convincingly so I stick with male protagonists.

 5 Masterofchaos, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 4:00:55 PM Relationship Status: In Lesbians with you
Best idol
I often write characters that are not my gender. (I'm female, most of my characters are male). It's something I had the hang of doing since the 7th grade. Sometimes I do females, but not all the time.

And even when I do write female characters, they're either adults or the secondary character.

edited 22nd Dec '11 4:10:25 PM by Masterofchaos

 6 JHM, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 4:06:09 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
I have a lot of people. More of them are male than female, but considering the size of the cast and the relatively equal prominence of both genders in terms of major or important characters, I'm not too concerned. But I would like a better ratio, for the sake of keeping things interesting. As Maurice Sendak once put it, men are simple.

edited 22nd Dec '11 4:08:03 PM by JHM

[up][up][up] No offense, but that's a sorry excuse for avoiding female characters, especially since you write Urban Fantasy.

The sex of my characters depends. I don't have a default: sometimes I choose deliberately, sometimes they come out a certain way, sometimes I change it midway, or I look at the circumstances—of personality, the already determined characters, and the story—and select a sex afterwards.

I do the similar things when deciding the race, nationality, religion, and sexual orientation of my characters.

edited 22nd Dec '11 4:36:41 PM by BetsyandtheFiveAvengers

read
I don't...really...get to choose...the gender of my main character. It sorta happens.

Then again, I do ensemble casts. Lots of gender opportunity, since I love having a diverse cast as possible.

But I DO tend to overpopulate my worlds with the gender of the people I am attracted to.
oddly
 9 Psycho Frea X, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 4:16:31 PM from Transcended Humanity
I have four protagonists each constantly switching limelight between arcs. One female and three male. But only one of the guys can be considered all that manly so I guess that's close enough to half and half for me.

edited 22nd Dec '11 4:18:30 PM by PsychoFreaX

 10 d Roy, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 4:19:36 PM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
@Betsy - sad

 11 Loni Jay, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 4:38:44 PM from Australia Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
I am female and write mainly male characters. It's an ongoing problem sad Unfortunately they just seem to default to male and then I have difficulty changing them.
Be not afraid...
 12 Night, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 4:43:29 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
I tend to have a designated protagonist of both sexes about. Samuel al-Faddil is actually quite outnumbered; in his own story he frequently shares a scene with at least one female protagonist, sometimes two. I've cycled through various ones for this purpose. (Signum, Vita, Tre, and currently Agito is his designated foil though Tre is still around.)

With K-11-2 I deliberately avoided this because we never actually saw female ADP walking the beat and I didn't want to involve the Knight Sabers directly for most of the story.

The Rifts stories split it. The protagonists for the IAR series were male. The protagonists for the SAMAS series were female. You'd have to pay close attention to tell either way.

And Ten Years Late demands I spend time with female protagonists.
"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
Joining the Team.doc
I'm a dude and my female characters are generally more powerful than the males.

Buuuuut the fact they're the dominant gender ironically leads to them being exploited as a tool in some insidious plot concocted by the villain (who could be either gender depending on the story), so I'm not really sure how that balances out.
Teens dress as Batman to catch pedophiles; cops not impressed
Either or, depending on whether or not I think it would serve the story better. Up till now, though, most of my protagonists have been male, but I'm trying my hand at writing a female protagonist, mainly because she'd be the best viewpoint character, but also to get some practice at it.

 15 nrjxll, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 5:10:28 PM Relationship Status: Not war
It seems like we've had this thread before. My responses:

Do you ever write a protagonist who isn't your gender?

All the time. I rarely if ever have a protagonist for any given work, so in most cases my works have a varying mixture of male and female protagonists. I don't bother trying to figure out an exact ratio, but it's usually pretty even. My comics have a lot more male then female protagonists, but that's largely an artifact of how they started.

How do you choose which gender your protagonist will be, or do you choose at all but just default to your gender?

I choose more or less at random. I never default to my gender, as it's one of those things that sets off my fear of self-inserts.

What do you do differently when you write the other gender?

Nothing. There are at least some genuine psychological differences between men and women, but to say that we know what they are and can successfully distinguish them from societal gender roles, enough so that it should make a significant difference in writing, is something I don't believe. So I don't write women in general as any different from men in general, though there can be differences depending on the particular character.

 16 burnpsy, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 5:22:47 PM from Ontario, Canada Relationship Status: Abstaining
The Eternal Fool
Aside from the 5 girls in the main cast, I defaulted to dudes except where the plot says it must be a female character. It's gotten pretty bad, so I'm planning to correct that.

I blame this:

edited 22nd Dec '11 5:27:34 PM by burnpsy

 17 nrjxll, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 5:26:17 PM Relationship Status: Not war
That's a pretty weak excuse. Again, there really aren't that many differences between men and women, when it comes to writing.

 18 burnpsy, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 5:27:19 PM from Ontario, Canada Relationship Status: Abstaining
The Eternal Fool
[up]I know. That's why I said I'm going to correct it.
Responsible adult
Let's see...

In the Suenyaverse, I have two completed stories of four planned stories (with more possible in the future in a Non-Linear Sequel way), and the protagonists are, in story order, female, female, male, and female. The two written stories are female thus far.

And in the Wordkeepers 'verse, the four central protagonists are male, female, male, and male, but that series has Loads and Loads of Characters, which I think actually skew a bit more towards male. The most important periphery characters, such as the two Mentors and the two Team Mom-type characters, are all female, and there are a ton of relevant background females.

And as for some of my other random stories, my previous two NaNoWriMo novels have male protagonists, though last years' was unconventional in that he was middle-aged and fat. And this years' has a cast of around 25, only three of which are female, but there's a magical reason for that in that fifteen or so of the twenty are all male due to all being created from the same spell.
"Proto-Indo-European makes the damnedest words related. It's great. It's the Kevin Bacon of etymology." ~Madrugada
 20 Morven, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 5:36:52 PM from Seattle, WA, USA
Nemesis
Well, I'm biologically male with some gender-identity complications, and I write largely female protagonists. In fact, I do so enough that I'm making myself write from male points-of-view more. I am trying to make myself more aware of my issues there & to have the courage to write male protagonists who may not be stereotypically masculine without worrying about it.
A brighter future for a darker age.
 21 loganlocksley, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 6:12:52 PM from On the ceiling
Occasionally Smart
I write female characters and male characters differently, I think, but it's on a character-by-character basis. I never think "Character X is female therefore she reacts like this, but Character Y is male so he reacts like that." It's never that simple, the differences and similarities in characters are based on far more than gender. Every one of my characters will react slightly differently to any given situation.

I do tend to write more male characters than female characters, but it's not a conscious choice, it just seems to be what happens.

He's like fire and ice and rage. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time. Rory punched him in the face.
 22 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 6:14:36 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
I think every writer should write at least one story from the viewpoint of their opposite gender, just for practice, if nothing else.

I guess this would be the thread to bring up 'strong female protagonists' as well (though I still prefer the phrase 'female protagonist with strong characterization'.)

edited 22nd Dec '11 6:21:25 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 23 Mecha Jesus, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 6:16:17 PM from [Undisclosed]
Gay bacon strips
All of my characters are of the opposite gender of me because I find it easier to write for them since I have a similar mindset. I prefer writing male characters because I find most female characters these days insufferable.

 24 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 6:18:42 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
[up]I feel that way too, even though it makes me feel guilty. I'm a female, I shouldn't propagate the whole bias against female protags that media has, but I don't feel as if I should have to write female characters just because I'm female, either.
SPATULA, Supporters of Page Altering To Urgently Lead to Amelioration (supports not going through TRS for tweaks and minor improvements.)
 25 loganlocksley, Thu, 22nd Dec '11 6:19:16 PM from On the ceiling
Occasionally Smart
I think every writer should write at least story from the viewpoint of their opposite gender, just for practice, if nothing else.

Writing from a point of view other than your own is always good practice, whether that means a guy writing a story from a girl's point of view, or vice versa, or a young person writing from an old person's POV, or something else. So I totally agree, writing a variety of characters of more than one gender is definitely a good writing tool to practice.
He's like fire and ice and rage. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time. Rory punched him in the face.
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