Women in Fiction, Part 2


Some interesting comments and a related article came out of my last post on this topic.

One particular point that came up several times is that manly men do not want to read stories about manly women. Well, that certainly makes sense. I’d add that girlie-girls don’t want to read stories about manly women, nor do womanly-women.

But are strong, independent women, “manly women”? I ask because I didn’t mention “manly women” but my description must have evoked that image. Maybe tough was the word that created that picture. I hope it wasn’t clever.

Think for a moment about real-life people. I’d consider Condoleezza Rice, for example, strong, independent, smart (more than clever), and from time to time, tough. I would not consider her a manly woman.

Of course there are women today who intentionally want to look like a man and act like a man. But I’m thinking there are also women who have adopted mannish behavior without realizing it. I think of women ogling pictures of bare-chested men or punctuating every sentence with a swear word or cutting others off in traffic or in conversation.

Not that I’m saying all men do those things. But let’s be honest. As Mike Duran implied in his post, men think about sex:

“getting the girl” is the stuff of boys (and men!). Heck, that’s practically all the guys at my work talk about. (Of course, what that means for them is a whole other story.)

Men are also aggressive and because of their left-brain focus, may not be aware when it’s appropriate and when it’s not. (I have a destination to bag, so other drivers aren’t even on the road, as far as I can see. 😆 )

Unfortunately in the culture today, there seems to be a growing number of women who are adopting these behaviors, as if they are better for that conduct.

On the other side of the spectrum, though, are clingers, weak-willed women, ones who expect to be victimized and welcome it. These are the silly women who can’t help but go out on the porch in the dead of night, alone, when they know an ax murderer is in the neighborhood, because they think they heard a noise. Paaaleeezz!

Then there are the ditsy types who can’t seem to find anything interesting to say beyond fashion or entertainment. Or the piously demure types who can’t think for themselves but must parrot whatever their husband tells them. Or how about models who can’t seem to think about anything but their next workout and the half stick of celery they’re planning to have for lunch. Or what about the little old blue-haired ladies who complain about drums and guitars in church.

Enough silliness.

Through all this conversation, I discovered one thing I don’t want to find in the women characters I read about—stereotypes. I also don’t want all the women to be the same, because clearly in real life we are not.

And still I have more to say on this topic. Another day

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm  Comments (5)  
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