But What About Gender?

We have been reading a lot about gender in class, and its something that has been on my mind a lot. I say that I wouldn’t consider myself a feminist but I’m beginning to wonder if that is true anymore. I have often disagreed with “radical” feminists. I actually think that men are OK and that they can hold jobs. I also think that being a stay-at-home mom is a perfectly acceptable job, if that’s what a woman wants to do. In my head, feminists were always out to ruin men and take their jobs and not ever have children. However, since coming to college, I’m realizing that there is more to feminism and gender stereotyping and sexism than I thought there was.

Last night I attended Melanie Mock’s presentation on gender in the church. I thought that it was fascinating, and it opened my eyes to things I had never noticed before. I never would have thought that sexism would still exist here, at a 21st century Christian college. To me, sexism, and gender stereotyping goes against all that I know of what Jesus taught. The split between men and women is one that I find fascinating, but it is also cause for concern.

I never thought that gender was something that affected how I write or what I write about. I always just figured that I wrote about what I wanted to write about, no questions asked. And I do think that I care about the subjects that I choose, but now I’m wondering whether I choose them because they’re what I like or because they’re what I know. I do think that I can write about whatever I would like, but would those pieces be successful? Would they be read and published?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but as I look back on what I’ve read, I know that women and men get published. Both genders can become critically acclaimed authors of best selling books. Does my gender affect how I read those books? I’m not sure that I can fully answer that yet. I know that I have read books and recognized that they are specifically targeted for either boys or girls. I know that I often dislike female protagonists and like male heroes. I think that as a society trying to create “Strong Female Characters” we have gone from one end of the scale (prim and proper princesses) to the other (female warriors who care nothing for themselves and only want to defeat the “evil” in their worlds). I often find myself thinking that the women in these stories seem a little cartoonish and exaggerated in their behavior. They are frequently so extreme in their actions that they seem comical.  Writing a strong, accurate,and inspiring female character seems hard for most authors to do.

Gender, and how it relates to writing and reading, is not something I had ever given much thought. I always just assumed that personalities drove writing styles and topics, and maybe even the goal of writing. Are men more likely to become published authors than women? I don’t have hard, fast answers to these questions. However, you can rest assured knowing that I will be thinking about and looking for them.

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2 thoughts on “But What About Gender?

  1. For a long time I thought feminism meant putting women on a level above men. The actual definition means putting women on the same level as men.
    A lot of people confuse the “radical feminists” you mention with the non-radical form of feminism. A distinction must be made!

    I totally agree with your point that we can’t fully sum up how our gender applies to our writing. At least not in a single paper or blog-post. The best we can do in our lifetime is to understand it does have an impact in our lives. Discovering the tangible effects will be a lifelong learning process.

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  2. “Writing a strong, accurate,and inspiring female character seems hard for most authors to do.” I think I agree with this, and it would be interesting to explore the causes/reasons for it.

    Gary

    Like

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