1. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Female Readers and Male Readers

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by MilesTro, Mar 21, 2013.

    Last night at my short story writing class, I notice how well the girl students reviewed one of the eight stories he talk about in a class workshop disccussion. They seem to be motivated on how well the styles, connection, and the emotion they get from the short stories they discussed. Some of them wanted to learn more and the stories should be revised. Only a few of the guy students discussed what they think and how the stories should be improved. Including me, they seem like they didn't explain a lot about how they felt about the story, but they only judge the intention of the stories. Our male teacher, however, kind of acted equad to al the students' comments. In total, it seems the girls are better critics than the guys.

    When one of the girls reviewed some of my shorts, they were picky about the plotholes when they got into my settings and my characters. They think my sample fast pace writing style is fine, it's just some plotholes that I need to fix.

    I think female readers and critics are more into the writing styles and the emotion, which they can idenify from books they read. This could also explain why most women read romanctic books and fantasy. But of course everybody have their own tastes, it seems that most female readers are attracted to styles, connection, and emotion that books have. And men like action and styles in the books they read. What do you think?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think you can really judge. I've read no fantasy that I can recall and almost no romance. I've engaged with plenty of men who enjoy books with a lot of emotion (I'm not certain, exactly, what you mean by 'styles) and who don't read books that have a lot of action.

    When I've been in critique groups, I've had helpful and unhelpful critiques from both women and men.
     
  3. writingismypassion
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    writingismypassion Member

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    Plot is part of the story. But it's also the characters that make up a story. Whether you are writing a short story or a novel. I myself perosnally go for the feel of things, just go with the flow in my writing and feel out the characters in how they think and act through out the story. Though I personally have never written a short story, though I've considered doing so but just haven't got around to one yet. It also depends on the person's writing style I would imagine. Such as whether or not they write in first person or third or some other form. I think it's rather easy to judge even though we are told never to "judge a book by it's cover" even though it's done all the time. It just all depends on what you like plot wise and writings styles I would think. Though I myself stay away from romances and am more into fantasy and WWII.
     
  4. Lokasenna
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    Lokasenna Member

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    From a university perspective, it's certainly true that a substantial majority of students who take English Literature are female - for whatever reason, literary analysis seems to be more appealing to women than to men. In all the universities I've worked at, I would say about a third to three-quarters of the undergrads are female. Though, interestingly, certain bits of it have definite gender biases: my own field of medieval literature always has a substantially higher than average male population.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    All you can deduce is that out of that sample, the female students gave more thoughtful, focused critiques. Don't overgeneralize. That is where stereotypes arise.
     
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  6. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    All i can say is that Women are more typically driven by emotion, which isn't bad at all, so which gives them an advantage on making those emotional connections. This isn't true for all women, but for the most part, yes. Sometimes i find Women who write in the fantasy and sc-fi genres usually bring a better, compelling drive to it. But that's just me. But if you asked me a more general question, i think it just depends on the writer. Don't jump into the archetypes. Both genders are equally gifted in writing potential, but we are totally different at the same time in a slanted viewpoint.
     
  7. TheDistantShip
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    Maybe guys are just more wary of sharing their emotions, not that they don't have them, girls are just more, in general, open. I don't know, I'm not a guy.
     
  8. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Could it also be that most female readers are more attracted to well detailed characterization? Sometimes I don't care about characterization. I like what the characters do than learning their personal life; like James Bond and Indiana Jones.
     
  9. Dave of Mars
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    Dave of Mars New Member

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    I think women are generally more intuitive, holistic thinkers and more emotionally aware. They can better pick up on subtlety. In my opinion, that's why they make great editors. I think they like stories that have more complexity going on underneath the plot. But that's just my take.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I believe there is no inherent male or female way of thinking, despite popular stereotypes. Individual differences dominate. There can be cultural pressures, but with more mixing of cultures and focus on individuals and their potential, these are not simple predictors.

    Writers, above all, should see the individual, not the stereotype.
     
  11. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    If good words have power over emotion, then I guess that works better with women. However indeed it can affect men too.

    It is hard for me to understand my writing and other people's work. Yet I get better critic from the female students who read and analyzed my work.
     
  12. lowprofile300
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    lowprofile300 Active Member

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    @MilesTro,
    Like Cogito suggested, lets not lean towards stereotypes. Obviously you've had favorable critique and analysis response from women about your work, that is not to suggest that men can't do as well. It is simply your experience -you've had better experience with women critics.
     
  13. Rebel Yellow
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    While I agree that there are individual differences, our personality is also affected by hormone levels.
     
  14. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I am not trying to stereotype anyone. But I have to agree that women are more on an emotional level with books that they critic. There's nothing wrong with that. Also doesn't mean that women are better at criticing books than men. There are good male critics too, like my last year creative writing teacher, Karl Sherlock. Anybody can critic, but we all have our own methods, point of view, and natural instincts.
     
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  15. edamame
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    Even though the guys didn't discuss their emotional connection with the story, I don't doubt they felt something. I agree with some others that maybe the men didn't feel comfortable discussing their feelings. American society is more permissive of emotional displays in women (although that can also further negative stereotypes of women being unreasonable and temperamental) while it discourages it in men (i.e. "Boys don't cry").
     
  16. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I also notice that the men basically explain the logic behind about what works and what not. The girls explain how good some of the sentences are and what words doesn't work. It sounds like the girls are into grammar or the style.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Of course every male or female doesn't fit in the same mold, but in my writer's critique group, there's no question there's a gender influence on what the writer's say about my chapters. I'm glad, it gives me a broader perspective. But there's definitely a difference.

    It's not the logic, or the details they focus on per se, it's that the guys want more conflict and action and the gals are happy with more tenderness and congeniality. I am siding with the conflict but I'm also finding ways to work it in without losing the tenderness and cohesiveness one would find between a close group of friends on a mission to change the world.
     
  18. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Basically my class looks is for the intention of the story and how it should improve it. I think what the girls are looking for are the emotional intention in each written class assignment. They amuse what the story is trying to do, then tell me how it should work the way they thought it should work. And we writers are not allow to correct or argue them. This Wednesday, they are going to read my short about a time traveling slut who steals relics for the future. Can't wait to see what they will say.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Depends. Does she enjoy the sex? ;) :D


    **Didn't know if you wanted the edits, so if not, feel free to ignore the red.
     
  20. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Yes and that is why she is a time traveling thief.
     
  21. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    I couldn't agree more with you, Cogito. :)
     
  22. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    If we all only see the steroetype, then we will assume who is the better critic.

    All comments and critics should be taken seriously if they sound right.
     
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  23. GingerCoffee
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    Clearly what people assume are real differences, for the most part aren't. But it's a tad too PC to ignore the actual biological differences.

    We girls really do mature earlier. ;)
    But one has to be careful looking at rates of development because it doesn't indicate much about the end result. And there's an entire body of bad research out there which some have drawn conclusions from, such as the early studies that concluded homosexuals were mal-adjusted heterosexuals and mothers caused their children's autism. I take psychology research with a grain of salt given the potential for false underlying premises.

    When it comes to pure biological brain research we still have the problem with interpretation. For example what does one make of the fact:
    The point is, yes, speculating on gender differences is wrought with folly. But ignoring biological gender differences is putting politics before science. Hormones have a significant impact on the developing brain. We know that because genetic females who lack functioning ovaries have brain development more like males that females. We can see gender controls some differences, but we need to be careful drawing conclusions about just what those differences are.

    The following seemed pertinent to the thread question, but I'm not suggesting the researchers cited here are the final word, and I caution buying anything from an expert that uses the terminology "females gossip". Still there was some here worth considering:
    The last sentence is from objective studies rather than stereotypes. I found this to be an interesting example of a researcher showing a clear bias (females gossip) yet still reporting on more objective research.

    Given I'm particularly good at math, logic, and directions, I'm not ready to accept the 'males have better spatial skills' stereotype. But I'll grant leaving the jury out until more research better defines the differences:
    I think the fact I'm the opposite, I want to know if I should go north or west, while directions to go past the 7-Eleven clutters my brain, demonstrates there is considerable overlap.

    I found the following interesting because we tend to think women crying means they can't control their emotions, while men who can't control their tempers are not seen in the same light.
    Getting back to the boys have better spatial skills:
    Again, I'm not vouching for these claims. I've not seen the studies they are basing them on.

    But I have seen the studies on male vs female digit ratios and mine matches the male 2D4D ratio. Being exposed to a bit more androgens in the womb explains my being an 'assertive' female and having strong spatial skills.

    It's important to note, however, just how tightly the bell curves of digit ratios overlap. I am one of millions of women who also have a longer ring finger than index finger. That's why am cautious about putting stock in some of these gender difference conclusions.

    Yes there are biological differences. There are cultural differences. And there are lots of false stereotypes out there. But the OP's observation that the females in his class differ in their observations from the males may very well be a real observation. But it may not hold true for all groups of critiquers.



    I find the brain absolutely fascinating, especially given how much of our personal realities are dependent on our brains, not necessarily the actual Universe out there.
     
  24. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Well that is a lot of science there.

    Last night, I got my sci fi short story reviewed, which is about a hybersexual time thief woman stealing a relic from a hotel and bringing it to her dystorian future. Most of the male critics recognize it as a sci fi exotic with action, and some of the girls throught it is sexist. They said most girls wouldn't talk about their bodies, but my best female friend thought it interesting if female characters in the future are more sexual than modern day women. My female character is meant to be a male fantasy of a exotic action woman.
     
  25. chicagoliz
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    When I'm in Chicago, I absolutely want to know and will give directions in a North/East/South/West manner. ("Go North on Halsted until you hit Belmont, West on Belmont til you hit Racine, then North on Racine.") Chicago is a grid, and it is very clear which direction you are travelling. The Lake is always east. On the North side, the Loop is south. Everything makes sense. And I can picture exactly where I'm going.

    But in Boston, where the roads are designed as if someone threw a ball of yarn up in the air and let it fall down, North or West makes no sense to me. Even with very specific directions, I'll get totally lost. There, I totally need landmarks, and only after I've driven it a bunch of times will I feel like I know where I'm going. Even then I'm not sure. (And the landmark should not be a Dunkin Donuts, either.) Actually, on most of the East Coast, directional navigation is lost on me. I never have any idea where I'm going. Out here, landmarks are really helpful.
     

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