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  1. Lightning
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    Lightning Member

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    Too many females?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lightning, Apr 9, 2012.

    Hello there!

    I'm going to get straight to the point; I'm writing a novel and I have a Dilemma. I have a large amount of female characters in the main 'group' of the story. In the group there is four females and three males, although the numbers are constantly shifting. I just have a slightly weird feeling about having more girls then guys in the main group, considering that in books of the same genre (action/adventure/fantasy) there are generally more male characters. I have no idea why but it feels like an unwise move to keep this amount of girls and to change some things around in my novel.

    My question really is, from the stand-point of fellow writers, is there anything wrong with this?
     
  2. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Of course not. The lack of female characters in most fantasy series stab me in my feminist heart.
     
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  3. Z. C. Bolger
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    Z. C. Bolger Member

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    There's nothing wrong with a heavy female group, it works and can even give you the edge into a lessly taped group of readers. I put your attention to the movie Sucker Punch. That movie wouldn't have been good at all if it was about dudes. Having a large group of female characters doesn't have to be bad. Is the main character female? The "alpha character" if you will.
     
  4. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    There are generally more females then males on the planet. Heavy on the female numbers also gives you a wider range of character development and interaction. Guys are generally less complex by a long shot.
     
  5. RowenaFW
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    RowenaFW Member

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    No - it's great. You'll ace the Bechdel test! :D A friend of mine writing an action/adventure/fantasy story was always moaning about how his book failed it. His main character was male, and he had a large subset of strong female characters who almost never met!
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You should have as many characters of whatever make or model as are needed to make the story work.
     
  7. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    While I agree that a little more gender variety is good, your last point is just plain wrong and very sexist.
     
  8. Lightning
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    Thanks for the thoughts, but I find your last comment about men being 'generally less complex by a long shot' a little bit sexist...I know that if I said the same thing about females there would be uproar. Just pointing it out
     
  9. Endovert
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    Only a few of your readers will even notice; of those, a small fraction will take offense; that small fraction will have a moron quotient of 1:1

    So don't worry about it. Let the story dictate what goes into it. The only caution is against trying to force it. In other words, if you can't write women very convincingly or you are trying to shoehorn more or less women into it because of some outside influence or fear of what others will think, then you should be worried.
     
  10. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I’m a guy that’s been around. I’m also an engineer and scientist. I deal in logic, science and facts not PC silliness. Sorry that’s the way it is. Now not all guys are shallow but generally they are geared for certain imperatives. Women require a greater range of intellect and view of things. It’s about survival traits and raising young.

    That doesn't mean one is better then the other just different.
     
  11. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I think the only problem with a larger number of females would be writing a more realistic dialogue. Let me explain.

    I've noticed in most social circles over the years is that if you inject one male into a group of females, the entire complexion of the discourse changes. I feel so strongly about this that I make my wife and her friends go out for a "girls' night only" dinner once per week. They call themselves "The Posse."

    I'll hear one of them call my wife, and she'll shout, "The posse rides tonight..."

    To the contrary, my wife and I were dining one night, and my SIL and my wife's best friend happened along. I tried to deliberately bow out of some topic changes, but try as I might, it looked like they were looking for a lead, or confirmation.

    Many women have told me that they have watched stewardesses fawn over male passengers, and find women invisible. Have an honest conversation with a good female friend and ask her about this. It happens more than most people think.
     
  12. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    When writing dialog or creating characters I try to take into account human nature. Individuals generally look to better themselves. Historically men and women develop social instincts to that end. Of course they are also dealing with mating instincts. Men have played the dominate social rule in most societies. A women looking to better themselves would look to who? Who would they be looking to as potential mates? Can you think of a reason women would be invisible to stewardesses. Men would look to men in power positions to better themselves while they'd look to women as potential mates. Neither men or women would be invisible to a steward in general. Of course strong individual personality traits can over ride general instincts.

    Taking such things into account helps to create more realistic characters, character interaction and dialog.
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a female who's been around, I could say just the opposite. Guess it just goes to show that we should be looking at individuals, not stereotypes groups.
     
  14. Lightning
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    Everyone...as interesting as all this is, and I mean no offense, it's kind of off topic...just wondering if that's alright on this forum because they're all different
     
  15. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    I challenge you to prove that females are more complex than males.
     
  16. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    Wrong again!
     
  17. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    I can only go by what many studies have shown and my own experience which agrees with the studies. Men are good at math and object orientation. Women are good at verbal memory, fluency and abstract thinking. I can't help but think those traits make for a more interesting character. Again doesn't mean better just different and it doesn't mean you can't make a male character interesting or give them depth.
     
  18. Floatbox
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    Once you stop thinking in terms of stereotypes and generalizations, your understanding of story/people/life can only grow.
     
  19. superpsycho
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    So if I ignore life’s factors like brain structure and chemistry my stories, characters understanding of life will grow? Really? I didn’t know brain structure and chemistry were stereotypes and generalizations. I thought they were gray matter, cells, and neural pathways. Sorry, all these years I didn’t know science and facts were creating all these stereotypes.
     
  20. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    'Psycho, I agree with your premise, I try to get good, hard science on many issues. The problem I face is when a singular fact goes against logical thinking.

    I wish you knew the woman who sang at my wedding. She could have been Loni Anderson's little sister. When she walked into a room she turned heads.

    She also killed bigger deer than her husband (every year), drove a big honkin' Moto Guzzi, and was a champion ax thrower at our local Rendezvous events.

    There are things like this that always make me pause when I find 'facts' a bit too stilted. If you showed me your data, I would most likely agree with your research. Having said that, I took a few Social Disorganizaton classes in college--granted at an early time when the idea of dysfunctional families were now in the majority.

    My idea of 'stereotypes' is that it is an overall, majority idea. It's trend data, or shows a progressing trend. However, this is forum on creative writing. If the OP is interested in using the extreme end of the Bell-Shaped Curve, there would also be data to support his view, as well.
     
  21. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, they are generalizations which do not take into effect personal experiences, nurture, etc etc. And frankly, as many times as science has been proven wrong or incomplete when it comes to matters of intelligence and personality, I wouldn't place a lot of stock in it. But you know - whatever floats your boat.
     
  22. Metus
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    The point is that studies take generalizations of people. Studies may be true, but they stereotype groups. Males and females tend towards different interests and abilities, but there are always exceptions. By denying those excpetions exist, you only limit yourself.

    And what studies, exactly, said that women were more complex and deeper? The ones you listed don't even support that assertion.
     
  23. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That wouldn't be 'science' proven wrong, only practices and theories. I know you already know this, but to say 'science has been proven wrong or incomplete' is something I just can't let slip. :)
     
  24. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No, Lightning, there's nothing wrong with having more female characters than male characters. Just make sure you have them all in different roles, so you don't have two characters performing the function of one character. That's often a problem that gets writers and readers confused.
     
  25. Floatbox
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    Intimate knowledge of neurophilosophy, psychology, and biology can help you, but those fields are not proposing stereotypes that men are less complex than women, or that all women have a broader intellect range than men. Those are stereotypes that you are making up yourself. Even if studies find that women on average score twenty percent higher than men in verbal memory tests, you still don't get to say, "Women are better than men at verbal memory, therefore women have the property of good verbal memory," and it shouldn't inform how you think about your women characters, or women in general. The (hypothetical) study just tells you that if you were to run into a random woman, she has a slightly higher chance of scoring better than a random male. In other words, there is data, and there is the interpretation of the data.

    Stereotypes, scientifically speaking, are shortcuts for your brain to judge people in situations with very limited information. While this function is useful in some areas of life, a writer should never rely on stereotypes for studies in character and the human condition. Stereotypes deny people their humanity, their complexity. It should be noted, however, your characters can stereotype other characters.

    To get the thread back on topic: Please, do not remove women from you story because of genre convention. Write for what the material demands, always - never expectation.
     
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