1. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    The Cop's Gender

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Charisma, Jul 19, 2014.

    So, as I sit down to write my novel, my brain automatically makes an excuse because of which, instead of typing it out, I'm here, posting a query. Real sly of you, brain.

    Anyhow, the query is legit; in my novel (some of you may already know this) the narrator/protagonist is a male detective whose partner is Gonzales. Gonzales who, you ask? Well, that's the thing; I'm not sure if Gonzales is a female or a male. I just know that Gonzales is my protagonist's friend and confidant, who acts as the supporting character, and allows the protagonist to talk to someone besides us. And here is where I'm stuck, because unless I know his/her gender I can't really proceed. Hard to imagine a Gonzales, who is Mexican in my book, and not affected by gender roles.

    So, tell me--how does a male/female gender affect the development of this character? If it's a female would readers be expecting some romantic interest (as I don't intend to show any)? Is a male partner too mainstream? Have at it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2014
  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    According to an American police site, 12% of police officers are women. So in reality, the partner is most likely to be male.

    I would not expect romance. In fact I would stop reading if there was actual romance in a detective partnership.
     
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    You must have some idea of who this character is. As far as opinions, I think it's irrelevant which of the two possible choices you choose, really, it could be either man or a woman, love interest or not, gay or straight, good cop or bad cop, it all depends on what you connect with and what suits your purpose. And only you can know that.
     
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  4. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I am leaning toward male for now. If I make Gonzales female, that would be three main female characters juxtaposed with the narrator. Somehow that just seems like a fiasco. But...I also see Gonzales is a tough girl. Gahhhh *brain explodes* wish it could be a hermaphrodite.
     
  5. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not impossible in real life, but very rare. Many who have both sets of organs tend to be sterile though.
     
  6. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    It's quite unlikely a hermaphrodite lands a job in NYPD, though. I mean...the odds are astronomical. And if we're assuming he/she is a closet hermaphrodite, that's adding a layer of a plot story which is fundamentally irrelevant to the main plot.
     
  7. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I haven't read your stuff, but could Gonzales be an imaginary character, like a child's imaginary friend, your MC uses to test his deductive reasoning, and without sexual identity ?
     
  8. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Would someone really have a genderless imaginary friend?
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    It could be a hermaphrodite, if you want it to be. It would certainly make for a nice change from diabetes or alcoholism :D Failing that, I think you should go with your gut instinct. I don't think more females than males is a problem, most stories and movies have more males than females in it, so inequality is the norm. But it sounds like you're 'feeling' a male character. Just pick one, you might find that, apart from a few reasonably superficial differences, the gender doesn't really matter in writing the character.
     
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  10. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Perhaps. Maybe. *twiddles thumbs*
     
  11. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or you could have an effeminate male cop who has tricked everyone around him into believing he's female, or vice versa. As long as the character isn't written as any kind of comic relief, they're unlikely to offend anyone.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see any reason at all why there'd need to be romantic interest. If you want to make it more clearly a non-option, one or the other of them could be happily married.

    I also don't see why three female characters would be a fiasco?
     
  13. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    One of them has a girlfriend, but who gives two baloonies about girlfriends these days? XD

    Well, it's supposed to be a suspense-mystery-thriller, and I don't want the reader to feel like the narrator is surrounded by female courtesans of some kind. I want the reader to take the female characters seriously, but I don't know if they would if the impression is cast that the narrator is somehow the only guy around. I don't know, maybe I think my audience to be too misogynistic. XD
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is reminding me of a discussion--was it here?--a while ago, in which female writers said that they didn't like to include female characters in their work, because they were afraid that they wouldn't be writing them in a way that would fulfill the expectations of, and please, male readers.

    I'm feeling the same, "How could we have gone backwards in the role of women in society since I was twenty?!" feeling that I had then.

    I realize that I may be over-interpreting your response, but... what's wrong with female characters? Why would having a majority of them make the readers take them less seriously? If a book has more men than women, do readers fail to take the men seriously?
     
  15. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Well, I would ask you then--who does the glass ceiling apply to? Who are the primary victims of domestic violence and sexual assault? Who are denied education, and at times, basic human rights, in a majority of third-world countries?

    The last question applies to a select audience, but the first two don't; they are very current, first-world problems. Even so, my main female character belongs to a third-world country (and so would Gonzales if she's female), so I'm assuming part of my audience is unwittingly, such a country.

    My point being: people are not exactly gender-neutral yet, or at least I would surmise so, and while I would love to crush that attitude, I would also want to be realistic.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But...that doesn't mean that it's wrong to write books about those people. :) Surely it means that books should be written about those people.

    If you're saying that books about women won't sell... I don't know. What percentage of readers are women versus men? There are a lot of books about women out there.
     
  17. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Oh, I didn't mean that at all. I was going for more 'give the audience what they can handle'. I want to have strong female characters, but only so many they can digest before they go like. "Oh, this is radical."

    I would say it's hard to compute a percentage. But for the genre I'm working on, I'd say male readers are more frequent.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that I'm unable to make my head stop hurting at the idea that it's radical. I'm not saying that you're wrong. I'm just saying that it makes me too sad for me to have a balanced opinion. :)
     
  19. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    -gives aspirin- Hang in there :D It's not too late for humanity...I think.
     
  20. TheBaconThief
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    I'm going to add my two cents on this. If you choose the cop character as a male, know you may have to work more to flesh out that character since his personality is going to make or break the story. Being a supporting character, Gonzalas is going to have more meat to his story than simply a support for the main character.

    If you decide on making the cop female, I suggest making her older to avoid the idea that she is going to become a forced romantic interest. I'm sure if you really wanted to have her at the same age as the main character, she could work but the audience is going to assume that she could be a romantic interest and that will distract against her character. With her being older, she could also become sort of a mentor figure as she would have experience on the field. (You can say she is already married and has kids.)

    Whatever you choose, bear in mind that Gonzalas' personality and story really needs to be defined in order to become the support figure that you have in mind. The gender shouldn't be a barrier to the story you have in mind.
     
  21. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    you say Gonzales is the main characters friend/confidant why not have Gonzales be the character's detective partner.
     
  22. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about a female partner who is a closet transsexual? She is driven to join the police force because she sees it as a "masculine" occupation.
     
  23. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think the world is ready for a story with one guy and a bunch of women, nothing odd or radical about that. When I was in my 20s, all but one of my two dozen friends were female... and no, they definitely were not my personal harem or anything of the like, just friends. And since women generally don't seem all that interested in sharing a guy, I wouldn't expect that from a group of female characters in a novel either.

    Also, not all men prefer to read about male characters. I'm a guy and I have a mild preference for female characters simply because generally women are a bit more interesting to me than men (esp.since, being a guy, I'm already familiar with the inner workings of men whereas I've yet to learn all I can about women).

    Just don't turn Gonzales into a romantic interest if you do make her female.
     
  24. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    You're implying that if the character is female, her personality won't really affect the story. o_O That's just not right.

    While this suggestion (amongst similar ones) is a great middle ground, it adds a layer of plot detail which is not only irrelevant to the main plot, it's almost unbelievable. Having said that, it could be an interesting side detail. Hmm.

    Thank you for your input. I'm seeing more clearly who Gonzales is (not just the gender, but the actual personality), and I think I will go for male. Not because of the selling point or anything, but because I think that fits better into the storyline. And the protagonist's life. I think he's a bit in touch with his feminine side, though :D
     
  25. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Yes
     
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