“Women’s day. Really?” I thought as I swept past the table where people had set up cards and other items to congratulate women on their femininity. I walked by the man trying to hand chocolate to me and continued on to my dorm. On second thought I probably should have grabbed the chocolate. Darn. Yes, I was craving chocolate actually.
I was slightly frustrated, confused, stressed, happy, and depressed as I continued on my way. Oh yes. I was feeling all of those things in some capacity. Oh…right…because I’m a woman?
Gender stereotypes are one of the things that annoy me most in the world. My tomboyish personality certainly doesn’t help in that regard. I have never enjoyed makeup, clothing, or jewelry. I don’t cry when I break a nail. I played ten years of sports in my childhood and spent afternoons playing video games with my brother. So yes, I hate it when people assume something about me just because I am a woman.
However, I think there is sometimes some truth behind stereotypes. Yes I do like chocolate (and should have taken the free one offered to me). Yes I can be crazy emotional at times (as much as I dislike admitting it). And yes I do on certain occasions enjoy being “feminine” and putting on a dress.
So when considering how my gender has affected my writing, I would have to admit that it does play a part.
I have always struggled to write from a male perspective. Though I find it somewhat refreshing and new, it is difficult for me and it is not uncommon for my male characters to be a little too emotional. I also do consider it a success when I make my readers feel something through my reading (and secretly take joy when something makes someone cry). I am emotional and that’s alright. Emotion is simply a part of me and I embrace it and allow my writing to function through the waves of feelings.
Of course beyond emotion I would agree many of my books focus more on relationships than they do action or adventure. I have always enjoyed a good love story over something with explosions. Whether this was conditioned into me or was a part of me from the very start, I don’t know. Regardless I embrace it and use it to define my writing.
Writing does seem to be influenced by gender in some capacity (or at least my own is). So regardless of whether I like my gender stereotypes or not I can’t deny that I do follow a few of the trends.
I am a woman. I like the people around me and desire to feel a sense of connection (especially in writing). I am a bit of a romantic and will choose a love story as my favorite. I am also an emotional mess sometimes…ok…a lot of the time.
There are differences to be sure. These separations in gender make an influence but we choose whether we let them define us (and our writing) or not.
To finish off enjoy this quote from Harry Potter. One of my favorite examples of gender comparisons in film.