Monday, February 18, 2013

That Thing About Gender

Once upon a time, I had one of my writer friends point out that I needed more women in my urban fantasy.  I agreed with her and tried to gender bend some character, and it just didn’t work well.  It changed the group dynamics, and in some cases the characters were simple too male to even attempt gender bending.

That draft was eventually tossed out the window and blown apart with a grenade launcher, but I the other night a noticed the same trend going on the current draft of #TBTRTD.

So what is it about surrounding my female heroine with men?

It’s certainly not for the harem factor.  The guys aren’t there to provide a stable of handsome men for my character to pick from.  Most of them wouldn’t sleep with her even if she were interested in getting jiggy with them.  

Then I got to thinking.  I’ve been in the process of re-reading some of my favorite urban fantasy series, as well as starting new ones, and the trend is the same in a lot of cases.  Savvy, sexy, kick-ass heroine surrounded by men.  That’s not to say there’s a complete lack of female supporting cast, cause that’s simply not true.  But they do seem to be a little testosterone laden.

Last night, at “why am I still awake and working” o’clock, it finally clicked.

 It’s the playing field.

Now, I’m all for girl power, and gender equality in the work place, but the fact remains that there are some areas where men still rule.  In a world full of monsters, it’s the men who step up the came to hunt down the baddies, play the hero and save the day.  When you throw a kick-ass woman into the mix, she’s going to be surrounded by a majority of men.  That’s just how it works.

But, you know, it can be used to emphasize that woman are capable not just of taking care of themselves but of being the ones to save the day.  And they’ll do it in style.  

1 comment:

  1. Great observations. I think your natural instinct to write the strong woman as one surrounded by strong men is reflective of reality, while forcing a groups gender make-up to fit a certain number for "balance" or other criteria often times kills suspension of disbelief. and can ruin an otherwise good story.