We love a good provocative title, before the men who read the title get pissed off, take a deep breath. I’m not even going to insult your intelligence by stating ‘not all men’ because in all honesty male writers range from good to bad, like anyone else. However, when it comes to writing a female character they mainly fail and it’s kind of embarrassing.
They stick to outdated archetypes and really write us in a very specific way that is not only incorrect, but so common that it’s kind of annoying. So instead of using todays blog post to shit on how men write women, I’m going to flip the idea on it’s head and show you how to spot if a show is written by a woman. This was inspired by the fact that I recently finished watching something, and guessed it was probably written by a woman, and I was correct.
Strong women are shown to have a personality outside of being ‘strong’
Men have always had a problem when it comes to writing strong women and I think it comes from the fact that a lot of writers put female characters in two groups: Strong and Weak, and that’s just not a good representation of real life. As a result of this we get two dimensional characters who either exist to save or be saved, when in reality writing a well developed woman with real strength requires a lot more than these two archetypes.
Strong women should be allowed to go through the same journeys as male characters, and be written as people and not as a gender. We can tell when women are the writers because a lot of them tend to see the character as more than just strong or weak. They’ll choose to write a woman as a growing three dimensional character because they’ll draw it from a lot of their own experiences, whether it’s through knowing other women, or being a woman themselves.
I watched a Korean drama recently where a noble woman also moonlighted as a rebel, she was strong, skilled with a gun and could literally jump between roofs. The reason I knew this drama was written by a woman is because the character also had room to grow, she was ignorant, she was weak, she had limitations because of their feudal society and she had a lot of backlash trying to overcome it. She grew into an amazing rebel, but still needed the help of all of her comrades, she fell in love, and she was a well fleshed out character in the end. I hesitate to think about how a man would have handled her character, but I feel like it would be more like Akamai Ga Kills version of a ‘strong woman’, which just isn’t good.
The female gaze is present
The male gaze is everywhere, we see it in TV, adverts and honestly seeing boobs everywhere is kind of an eye sore. So when women write media you can see the female gaze, which is just as sexual, but somewhat linked to emotions as well. This is best seen in Orange is the New Black, in every variety – we have the lust, the love, the tension – quite literally everything and it’s really refreshing as a break from the ‘tits and ass’ view that we get in our day to day lives.
Every character has room for emotional growth
Regardless of gender, characters have a lot more room to grow when a woman writes them (from what I’ve seen). I’m not just talking about seeing men cry, or seeing women cry I just mean the layers of emotions are a lot more intense. Now this point is pretty provocative and very two dimensional so I won’t spend a lot of time expanding, because I’m aware it’s flawed, but in a lot of cases it is the truth. #notallmen
Women actually speak to other women about more things than their male interests
Have you ever heard of the Bechdel test? Well instead of giving you a dictionary definition, let me break it down – It’s a test to see if female characters ever interact with each other without talking about men. Simple enough isn’t it? Well, most media fail this test mainly because women either don’t interact with each other, or when they do they just talk about men endlessly.
When women write media, the form of media tends to pass the test. I say ‘tends to’ because even we’re guilty of fucking this up.
Male friendships show a lot more emotions as well
Men have friendships that exist outside of competing and have a lot more room to have genuine friendships. It’s beautiful but also sad that in a lot of media they’ll stick to showing a certain type of friendship, even JD and Turk in Scrubs was relatively groundbreaking and that should really be the norm.
If this blog pissed you off, then I’m doing my job. I kind of wrote a lot of my points in a very general way on purpose just to see how people take it. If you made it this far, how did it make you feel? Should I stick to being fair or just piss everyone off?